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Published on February 27, 2017. Last modified on August 25, 2017
Information for retailers
Thank you for joining the effort to make the implementation of Monterey County’s Reusable Bag Ordinance (no. 5244) a success. This webpage will help provide you with answers to your questions as well as provide you with the resources you need for your business to inform your customers about the ordinance.
- The Ordinance affects all retail establishments that sell perishable or nonperishable goods including clothing, food and personal items
- The Ordinance does not apply to restaurants, take-out food establishments, and wholesale agricultural produce packing and shipping businesses in unincorporated Monterey County.
- Affected stores may no longer provide customers with thin-film plastic single-use carryout bags to customers at the point of sale.
- The sale of recycled paper bags and reusable bags should be itemized separately on sales receipts.
- Stores affected by this ordinance must charge $0.10 or more per bag. These bags must meet the specification of the ordinance.
- Protective bags without handles are allowed for items such as prescription medication, fresh produce, meat and bulk foods.
- Customers purchasing food with WIC and CalFresh/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) may be provided a recycled paper bag or reusable bag at no cost.
Recycled Paper Bags
The paper bags your store offers for sale at checkout must meet the following requirements:
- Paper bags must not contain old growth fibers
- Bags must be a minimum of 40 percent post-consumer recycled content paper
- Bags must be 100 percent recyclable
- Bags must have the following information printed in a highly visible manner on the outside of the bag:
- The word “recyclable” and or “reusable”
- Name and location of the manufacturer
- The percentage of post-consumer recycled content
The reusable bags offered for sale at checkout must have handles and be designed and manufactured to:
- Be at least 4.0 mils thick, if made of plastic and capable of being cleaned and disinfected
- If made of cloth or other washable natural or synthetic fibers that can be cleaned and disinfected
- Have a minimum life expectancy of 125 uses.
- All sales of recycled paper bags or reusable bags shall be itemized on the sales receipt
- The minimum a retail establishment shall charge is $0.10
- All proceeds from the sale of recycled paper bags and reusable bags are retained by the retail establishment with no restrictions on use.
- Customers purchasing food with Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Supplemental Food Program and CalFresh should be provided one or more recycled paper bags or reusable bags at no cost.
Protective bags made of plastic, no bigger than 11”x17” without handles are allowed for the following reasons:
- To transport produce, bulk food or meat within a store
- To transport produce, bulk food or meat to the point of sale at a farmers’ market
- To hold prescription medication dispensed from a pharmacy
- To segregate food or merchandise that could damage or contaminate other food or merchandise when placed together in a bag
- Garment Bag regardless of size
- General Information
- Frequently Asked Questions about the Reusable Bag Ordinance
- Preguntas Frecuentes para la Ordenanza de Bolsas Reutilizables del Condado de Monterey
- Ordinance available here
- Information for Shoppers