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In September, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 270, the nation’s first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags. The state’s new plastic bag ban allows local ordinances already on the books (like those in Napa County) to remain in effect. The state legislation takes effect July 1, 2015, at large groceries and variety stores such as Wal-Mart and Target, and will be extended to convenience stores and drugstores one year later.
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The intent of the Single-use Bag Reduction Ordinance is to significantly reduce the environmental and community impacts related to single-use plastic and paper carryout bags and promote a major shift toward the use of reusable bags.
Under this ordinance, use of single-use plastic bags will no longer be permitted at retail stores. Paper bags will be allowed, but retailers will be required to charge customers not less than 10 cents per bag to encourage customers to use reusable bags. The 10 cents is not taxable, and retailers retain the revenue in order to offset the costs of providing paper bags.
All single-use plastic bags provided at the point of checkout for retail sales are covered by the ordinance.
Yes. The following uses are exempt from the requirements of the Single-use Bag Reduction Ordinance:
The ordinance was passed by the City Council in the summer of 2014; however, in order to allow sufficient time for businesses to use up their existing inventory of bags and to adjust to the requirements of the ordinance, implementation will be phased in over six months, going into full effect on January 1, 2015.
All retail establishments or all sizes located in the City of Napa, including:
Yes, an ordinance is simply a law or regulation made by a city or town government. Example: The town has passed a zoning ordinance limiting construction.
The California Constitution authorizes the City to “make and enforce within its limits all local, police, sanitary and other ordinances and regulations not in conflict with general laws.” There is nothing under either state or federal law that constrains the City’s ability to regulate the sale of bags or to prohibit the sale of disposable bags of a certain manufacture type. Some local measures that impose special taxes must be placed on the ballot; however, the ordinance does not create any special tax, nor does it generate any revenue or general fund money for the city. Thus, it is not subject to this requirement.
Plus, with four community meetings to discuss the proposed city ordinance and public comment at City Council when the item was heard, residents of Napa - and business owners who may not reside in Napa - had the opportunity to have their voices heard and provide input and feedback directly to elected officials rather than just a yes or no vote on the ballot.
The Code Enforcement Division of the Community Development Department of the City of Napa is responsible for enforcing the City's Municipal Code.
The City of Napa and Sustainable Napa County will focus primarily on education and helping businesses comply. For those who are persistently out of compliance, a warning can be issued and fines may be imposed, ranging from $100 to $500, based on provisions relating to enforcement of violations of code set forth under the Napa Municipal Code.
To head off any confusion about the differences between state and local laws governing single-use bags, the City of Napa and Sustainable Napa County are planning an outreach campaign to merchants and residents, and the City of Napa’s website will be regularly updated with current information. Information about new options for residents and customers will be shared online, in newsletters and local media, through point-of-purchase information, in training sessions for retailer staff, and through outreach at community events. A reusable bag promotion is also being developed in order to support local retailers in transition.
Additionally, local businesses are invited to attend one of two "how-to" workshops. Attendees will receive a Business Toolkit, which includes resources for communicating with employees and customers about the ordinance; helpful tips to ease the transition to reusable bags and to help customers remember their reusable bags; frequently asked questions and the answers about the ordinance; and more.
There are many sources of available information. Our local NRWS (Napa Recycling and Waste Services) has great information on what we can do with items that can be recycled. Other resources include Californians Against Waste, Clean Seas Coalition and Green Cities California, I Got My Bag (local cities working together to promote use of reusable bags), and “Bag It - The Movie” is an eye-opening, yet entertaining feature on plastic bag use and pollution here in our country and in others.
Our goal is to help ease the transition away from single-use plastic bags, and make sure you understand the ordinance and how it will affect you. If you have additional questions we haven’t addressed, please attend one of the business how-to meetings to learn more or contact us for more information.