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Reusable Bag Ordinance - Now in Effect


The Reusable Bag Ordinance was initially proposed by members of the City Council during one of the City's twice a year Strategic Planning meetings on February 18, 2011. Since that time, the idea appeared in 4 consecutive Council Strategic Plans and was discussed at 4 City Council meetings. There was also a considerable amount of discussion and outreach that occurred in San Carlos during that 2 year period about the proposal.

City Council Action
On February 25, 2013 the San Carlos City Council introduced a Reusable Bag Ordinance that covers retailers in the City of San Carlos.  The City Council adopted the Ordinance at their meeting on March 11, 2013.  The Ordinance adopts by reference the provisions of the Model Reusable Bag Ordinance adopted by San Mateo County.

The effective date of the Ordinance in San Carlos is July 1, 2013.  San Carlos retailers need to comply with the provisions of the Reusable Bag Ordinance by that date.

Key Provisions of the Ordinance

  1. Prohibits the use of Single-Use Carryout Bags by all Retail Businesses in San Carlos
  2. Allows protective plastic and paper bags without handles for meat, produce, prepared food and prescription medicine as well as garment bags.
  3. Excludes restaurants and non-profit charitable re-use organizations.
  4. Retailers can sell Recycled Paper Bags to customers if they are made of at least 40 percent post-consumer recycled content.
  5. Paper and reusable bags sold by retailers must carry a minimum price of 10 cents per bag which increases to 25 cents per bag on January 1, 2015.
  6. Customers purchasing food with WIC and CalFresh food stamps can receive paper bags with 40 percent or more post-consumer content at no cost.
  7. Retailers must keep a record of recycled paper bags that are sold to customers.
  8. Fines for noncompliance will be $100 for a first violation, $200 for a second violation and $500 for the third violation.  Each day in non-compliance will be counted as a violation.
Additional Information
Check these reports and documents for more information about the Reusable Bag Ordinance in San Carlos.
Information and Resources for Retailers in San Carlos
The City of San Carlos has worked with the County Environmental Health Department in the development and implementation of the Reusable Bag Ordinance.  Here are some resources for retailers in San Carlos as they implement the Reusable Bag Ordinance in their operations in San Carlos:

( Reusable Bag Ordinance in San Carlos - Effective July 1, 2013 (PDF, 768 kb) )