Reusable Bag Ordinance

Arcata's Reusable Bag Ordinance goes into effect on February 1, 2014 - Prepare your businesses today!

Requirements for Retailers Starting Saturday, February 1, 2014

  • Retail stores may not provide single-use plastic carryout bags to customers (plastic carryout bags are banned).  Customers may bring their own reusable bags or purchase reusable bags from stores.
  • Paper bags must contain a minimum of 40% postconsumer recycled content, be 100% recyclable, and show other information (see ordinance).
  • Reusable bags must be made of machine-washable fabric; able to carry 22 pounds 125 times over a distance of 175 feet and not contain heavy metals in toxic amounts.
  • Bags (paper or plastic) provided for use inside the store to package bulk items such as fruit, nuts, grains, candy or small hardware items; wrap meat or frozen foods, cover bakery goods etc. are allowed.  
  • The Reusable Bag Ordinance applies to all retail establishments in the City of Arcata including all stores that generate sales or use tax pursuant to the Bradley-Burns Uniform Local Sales and Use Tax Law.
  • The ordinance does not apply to restaurants.

Requirements for Retailers Starting Friday, August 1, 2014

  • Stores may continue to provide customers with a recycled paper bag, but only if the store charges a minimum price of 10 cents per bag.  Stores may exempt from bag charges, customers paying for goods with WIC, CalFresh, or other food stamp cards.  Stores retain money collected from bag charges.  The 10 cent bag charge is exempt from sales tax.
  • Protective paper bags (smaller than 625 cubic inches) may be provided at no charge at the point of sale to protect purchased items from damage.
  • Stores must itemize paper and reusable bag sales on customer receipts.

Resources for Retailers

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