Single-Use Carryout Bag Reduction Ordinance

Plastic Bag Flying Through the Air

About the Ordinance

Summer 2014, the Napa City Council unanimously passed a single-use bag reduction ordinance that will be phased in over six months, going into full effect on January 1, 2015. Under Napa’s ordinance, which will go into effect six months before the state law, single-use plastic bags will no longer be permitted at retail stores. There are some exceptions.

Paper bags will be allowed, but retailers will be required to charge customers 10 cents per bag to encourage customers to use reusable bags. Retailers retain the revenue in order to offset the costs of providing paper bags.

Ordinance Intent & Development

The intent of the 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. There are certain exemptions for specific bags (like produce bags, dry cleaning bags, and restaurant carryout bags). This ordinance will reduce litter and waste as well as contamination in recycling and composting programs—in turn reducing costs to taxpayers.

In addition, the law will improve water quality in our rivers and streams, the Bay, and the ocean by reducing plastic bag pollution. The City developed the ordinance with the input of residents and businesses and it received broad support from business, environmental, and community groups like the Napa Chamber of Commerce, Sustainable Napa County, Napa Valley CanDo, and the California Grocers Association.

Statewide Ban

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 the one in Napa) 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.