- Complete a Self-Certification Form stating whether you are a Tier 1, Tier 2, or exempt store.
- Cease providing customers with plastic carryout bags (produce bags and individual product bags are exempt) if you are Tier 1 or Tier 2.
- Make recyclable paper carryout bags or reusable carryout bags available to customers. More details on bag compliance.
- Charge customers using recyclable paper carryout bags 10-cents per bag ("no store shall rebate or otherwise reimburse customers for any or all of the 10-cent charge required").
- Provide free of charge, at the point of sale, either reusable bags or recyclable paper carryout bags or both (your option), to any customer participating in supplemental food programs.
- Indicate the number of recyclable paper carryout bags provided and the total amount charged for the bags on customer receipts.
- Complete and submit the Annual Report to the City by your store due date (August 14, 2015 for Tier 1; February 14, 2016 for Tier 2).
- Total number of paper bags provided (including those provided free of charge to California Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) or in the Supplemental Food Program).
- Any store efforts to promote recycling of single-use carryout bags. Examples of this would be providing employees with training on how to encourage customers to bring their own bag (e.g. Asking customers “Do you have your own bag today?” and thanking customers who bring their own reusable bags to reinforce this habit and to encourage other customers within listening range to do the same), incentive programs or promotional bag giveaways.
- Total monies collected from the paper bag charge (NOTE: actual monies collected from the paper bag charge may be retained by the store).
You can see the Annual Report template here.
TIER 1 STORES: Supermarkets and stores with a pharmacy that have 10,000 square feet of retail space or more (official definition)
- Must submit an Annual Report by August 14, 2015
TIER 2 STORES: Smaller Grocery Stores, drug stores, pharmacies, convenience food stores and food marts (official definition)
- Must submit an Annual Report by February 14, 2016
Larger supermarkets and stores with a pharmacy (Tier 1)
"A store of at least 10,000 square feet of retail space that generates sales or use tax pursuant to the Bradley-Burns Uniform Local Sales and Use Tax Law (Part 1.5 (commencing with Section 7200) of Division of 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code) which sells a line of dry grocery or canned goods, or non-food items together with some perishable food items or a store that has a pharmacy licensed pursuant to Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 4000) of Division 2 of the Business and Professions Code."
Smaller food, convenience stores, and drug stores (Tier 2)
"A drug store, pharmacy, supermarket, grocery store, convenience food store, food mart, or other similar retail store or entity engaged in the retail sale of a limited line of grocery items or goods which typically includes, but is not limited to, milk, bread, soda, and snack foods, including those stores with a Type 20 or 21 liquor license issued by the State Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control."
Typical thin plastic bags, with handles, provided at check out are prohibited. The ordinance defines a plastic carryout bag as, "Any bag made predominantly of plastic derived from either petroleum, natural gas, or a biologically-based source, such as corn or other plant sources, which is provided to a customer at the point of sale. 'Plastic carryout bag' includes compostable and biodegradable bags but does not include reusable bags, produce bags, or product bags."
Please refer to Los Angeles County’s website for "About the Bag" for detailed information on reusable bag manufacturers in compliance with the ordinance and appropriate testing laboratories.
The companies and the information presented are subject to change without notice. The companies listed are note endorsed or recommended by the City of Santa Barbara, nor is the list necessarily inclusive of all bag vendors or testing laboratories.
A bag with handles that is specifically designed and manufactured for multiple reuse and meets all of the following requirements:
- Has a minimum lifetime of 125 uses, which for purposes of this ordinance, means the capability of carrying a minimum of 22 pounds 125 times over a distance of at least 175 feet.
- Has a minimum volume of 15 liters.
- Is machine washable or is made from a material that can be cleaned or disinfected.
- Does not contain lead, cadmium, or any other heavy metal in toxic amounts.
- Has printed on the bag, or on a tag that is permanently affixed to the bag, the name of the manufacturer, the location (country) where the bag was manufactured, a statement that the bag does not contain lead, cadmium, or any other heavy metal in toxic amounts, and the percentage of postconsumer recycled material used, if any.
- If made of plastic, is a minimum of at least 2.25 mils thick.
Yes, as long as the minimum lifespan of the bags is 125 uses (as defined in the ordinance). See our page on Bag Compliance to find reusable bags in compliance with the Ordinance and appropriate testing laboratories.
Yes. Trash bags are not prohibited, unless they are provided at checkout for the purpose of transporting groceries or other goods.
Paper bags must meet all of the following requirements:
- Contains no old growth fiber.
- Is one hundred percent (100%) recyclable overall and contains a minimum of forty percent (40%) post-consumer recycled material.
- Is capable of composting, consistent with the timeline and specifications of the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) Standard D6400.
- Is accepted for recycling in curbside programs in the City.
- Has printed on the bag the name of the manufacturer, the location (country) where the bag was manufactured, and the percentage of postconsumer recycled material used.
- Displays the word “Recyclable” in a highly visible manner on the outside of the bag.
Yes. Anything they can safely carry their groceries with, including: reusable bags, baskets, buckets, and boxes, for example. If a customers doesn't bring in their own bag or purchase a paper bag, they may want to carry their paid purchases out by hand. Or maybe their goods can be packaged back into the shopping cart or basket for transporting to their vehicle, where they can be unloaded.
Residents participating in supplemental food programs are eligible to receive either free reusable bags or recyclable paper bags or both, at the store’s option.
Customers have a variety of options available to bypass the cost of purchasing paper and reusable bags, such as:
- Bring a reusable bag or avoid a bag on small purchases.
- Obtain free reusable bags that are often given out by businesses and community organizations at special events as promotional items.
- Residents participating in supplemental food programs are eligible to receive either free reusable bags or recyclable paper bags or both, at the store’s option.
Woven or cloth reusable bags are not recyclable. The best option for this type of bag is to donate it to a second hand store if it is still in usable condition or repurpose the material. Reusable plastic bags and single use plastic bags should be bagged together and either a) brought back to a major grocery store and placed in the bag recycling receptacle or b) placed in your trash. For more on plastic bag disposal please read this article.
All monies collected by a store under this Ordinance may be retained by the store and may be used for:
- Costs associated with compliance.
- Actual costs of providing recyclable paper carryout bags.
- Costs associated with a store's educational materials or education campaign encouraging the use of reusable bags.
All regulated stores must provide at the point of sale, free of charge, either reusable bags or recyclable paper carryout bags or both, at the store's option, to any customer participating in supplemental nutrition programs.
Not currently. Please check with the State Board of Equalization. The latest advisory is that the 10-cent charge on paper bags is not subject to State sales tax.
Yes. A recyclable paper carryout bag, of any size, that is provided at checkout to a customer is subject to the 10-cent charge (except for prescription bags).
You must charge 10-cents for each paper bag provided (regardless of size) to a customer for the purpose of carrying purchased goods away from your store. Carryout bags provided to participants in supplemental food programs are exempt from this charge. Paper bags distributed for physician-prescribed prescriptions are not regulated.
Enforcement & Public Education
The City’s main goal is to help store owners and operators to understand and comply with the ordinance and to educate their customers about the new requirements. If necessary, the City will enforce the Single-Use Carryout Bag Ordinance in accordance with the Santa Barbara Municipal Code. Store owners and operators that are found to be in violation with the Municipal Code will first receive a Notice of Violation and a deadline to correct the violation. If the violation is not corrected by the specified deadline, the City may take further enforcement action, including the imposition of fines and penalties, as set forth in the Municipal Code.
Stores are encouraged to inform customers that bags will no longer be provided at check out starting on the store's compliance date. Stores may consider promoting shopping with reusable bags in weekly circulars, company websites, social media, and outgoing phone messages.
The 10-cent charge per paper bag may be used for costs associated with a store's education for its customers.
The Environmental Services Division intends to provide some templates to assist stores with customer education.