California – Single-Use Bag Legislation Introduced

SALT Report 2379 – The California State Legislature has proposed legislation that will create local ordinances to restrict or ban plastic single-use carryout bags. The Bill will also require that retailers impose fees at the point-of-sale for all single-use bags, both paper and plastic. Currently, 70 California cities and counties have ordinances like this in place.

If the Bill is passed it will offer all cities and counties that pass a single-use bag ordinance funding for litter clean-up projects and to create new parks and recreation programs. Revenue for these programs would be generated by a new $0.05 charge assessed at the point-of-sale for all single-use carry-out bags.

Specifically, Senate Bill 700 would:

  • Require a retail establishment to charge its customers $0.05 for a single-use carryout bag
  • Allow the retail establishment to retain $0.005 of each bag charge
  • Authorize the retail establishment to retain an additional $0.005 if it meets certain requirements such as, offering the consumer a $0.05 credit for each carryout bag provided by the consumer for packaging their purchases
  • Require the Board of Equalization to collect the single-use carryout bag charges, adopt regulations related to reporting and remitting the charges, and track revenues in the Local Environmental Enhancement Fund, and
  • Provide that the act does not preempt local governments from enacting their own laws related to single-use carryout bags

Senator Wolk, the author of SB 700, said that if passed, the Bill would reduce the amount of single-use shopping bags used by giving the consumer choice to use their own reusable bags or pay a tax on all single-use plastic or paper bags. Wolk predicts that SB 700 would generate approximately $100-$200 million annually and reduce single-use carryout bags in the state by 70-80%.

For Further Information

California State Legislature – Senate Bill 700