News & Events

California's Statewide Bag Ban : Fact Sheet

California's Single-use Carryout Plastic Bag Ban(SB 270)Fact Sheet

On November 8, 2016 voters upheld SB 270, the first statewide ban on single-use carryout plastic bags by voting "Yes" on Prop 67.

The single-use carryout plastic bag ban:

Prohibits large grocery stores and pharmacies from providing single-use plastic carryout bags and requires they offer reusable and paper bags.

Mandates reusable bags to contain at least 20% certified PCR. View a list of certified reusable bag producers here:

Mandates stores to charge a minimum of $.10 cents for recycled paper, compostable, and reusable bags.

Allows stores to continue using plastic bags for meat, bread, produce, bulk food and perishable items.

Exempts consumers from purchasing a reusable bag if they are part of a government funded supplemental food program.

Which stores are affected?

Grocery Stores: Full-line, self-service retail stores with gross annual sales of at least $2 million that sell a line of dry groceries, canned goods, or nonfood items, and some perishable items.

  • Large Retail Stores with a Pharmacy: Stores that have at least 10,000 square feet of retail space and a pharmacy and that generates sales or use tax.
  • Convenience Stores, Food Marts, or Liquor Stores: Stores engaged in the retail sale of a limited line of goods, generally including milk, bread, soda, and snack foods, and that hold a Type 20 or Type 21 license issued by the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
  • Volunteer Stores: Retail establishments not included in this list that voluntarily agree to comply with the requirements of the statute.

Note on Stores Affected:

SB 270 does NOT affect restaurants or retail stores (other than those noted with a pharmacy and with at least 10,000 square feet of retail space)

The new law allows a city or county that has adopted a bag ordinance prior to September 1, 2014, to continue to enforce and implement that ordinance, but it pre-empts any amendments other than to increase the bag charge at regulated stores.

When does it go into effect?

The law is effective immediately, due to SB 270 being signed into law back in 2014. There was a grace period written into the law, but when the referendum qualified for the November 8, 2016 ballot, implementation of SB 270 was suspended and remained pending until voters passed Prop 67.

Which bags are allowed?

Reusable Plastic Bags: Must have a handle and be capable of carrying 22 lbs. over a distance of 175 feet for a minimum of 125 uses and be at least 2.25 mils thick. It must also have a volume capacity of at least 15 liters, and be able to be cleaned and disinfected. It must also be made from a minimum of 20% certified postconsumer recycled content.

Recycled Paper Bag: Must contain a minimum of 40% postconsumer recycled content materials. An 8 lb. or smaller recycled paper bag shall contain a minimum of 20% postconsumer recycled material.

Non-Plastic Reusable Bags: Must be sewn, capable of carrying 22 lbs. over a distance of 175 feet for a minimum of 125 uses and have a minimum fabric weight of at least 80 grams per square meter.

For more information, visit:

Comments (0)

Leave a comment