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Single-Use Plastic Bag Ban

Both locally and statewide, efforts are being made to ban the distribution of single-use plastic bags at grocery stores and other retail establishments.

Plastic bags can be difficult to recycle and contribute to the ever-increasing plastic litter problem worldwide.

Local Efforts

On August 25, 2015, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors adopted a local ordinance banning single-use plastic bags in certain stores in the unincorporated areas of the county. The law is very similar to locally approved bag bans in the cities of Santa Barbara, Ojai, and Carpinteria, as well as all of San Luis Obispo County and its cities.

You can read the text of the Single-Use Plastic Bag Ban ordinance by clicking here.

The ban affects supermarkets, pharmacies, food markets, and liquor stores. These stores will eventually offer only reusable bags for sale or bags made out of recycled paper that will cost 10 cents per bag.

Larger stores like supermarkets and large chain pharmacies will be impacted by this law on March 22, 2016. Smaller stores, like neighborhood markets and liquor stores, will be affected on September 24, 2016. County staff estimates that 8 larger stores and 66 smaller stores will be affected within the unincorporated areas of Santa Barbara County.

Please read our press release by clicking here. If you have any questions about the ordinance or its related Environmental Impact Report (EIR), please contact Carlyle Johnston at (805) 882-3617 or send him an e-mail.

Statewide Efforts

On September 30, 2014, Governor Brown signed SB 270, the nation’s first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags. According to the law, grocery stores and pharmacies in California were prohibited from distributing single-use plastic bags by July 1, 2015 (and by July 1, 2016 for convenience stores and liquor stores); however, the ban was challenged through a statewide referendum and placed on the November 2016 ballot. California's voters ultimately approved the ban, which is now in effect statewide.

More information about California's Ban on Single-Use Carryout Bags can be found on CalRecycle's website. The Governor's statement on SB 270 can be read by clicking here.

More on Plastic Bags - Recyclable or Not Recyclable? Click Here