Sacramento County and Single-use Plastic Bag
Sacramento County is saying goodbye to single-use plastic bags. The Board of Supervisors adopted the Single-use Carryout Bag Ordinance on April 26, 2016. The ordinance will take effect in unincorporated Sacramento County on July 1, 2016. Retailers can use these pages to find out which businesses are effected by the ban, learn what types of bags are accepted, and access resources and a toolkit for a smooth transition.
Does Your Business Fall within Ordinance Limits?
Visit the Sacramento County Assessor’s Parcel Viewer and type your business address in to the search bar to find out if you are in the unincorporated area of Sacramento County. Look in the Property Information section of your search results. If it says “unincorporated” next to “jurisdiction”, then the ordinance applies to your business.
Find Out if Your Business is Affected
The new rules only apply to certain businesses in the unincorporated areas of Sacramento County.
A store is required to stop using single-use plastic bags if it is a:
- Grocery store or market with gross annual sales of $2,000,000 or more and sells dry grocery, canned goods, or nonfood items and perishable items
- Pharmacy 10,000 square feet or greater in size
- Convenience store or food mart that sells milk, bread, soda, snack foods, and liquor
A store is NOT required to stop using single-use plastic bags if it is a:
- Retail store that does not sell food and does not have a pharmacy
- Farmer’s market
Choose the Best Bag for Your Business
Learn more about bag requirements, standards and vendor options.
Small bags are exempt from the ban and from the $.10 fee if they are reusable bags or bags without handles used to:
- Carry produce or meat within a store
- Carry prescription medication dispensed from a pharmacy
- Segregate food or merchandise that could damage or contaminate other food or merchandise
Customers can bring any kind of bag into the store for use in carrying their purchases from the store. They are not required to purchase a paper or reusable bag from a store.
Participants in WIC (Women, Infant & Children's) program or in CalFresh using a voucher or EBT card may not be charged for bags. Stores can choose which reusable or paper bags to offer these customers free of charge.
Your Action Plan for the Ban
Follow our step-by-step guide below to help you prepare for this change.
- Research and stock bags that meet the standards and are the best for your store and customers.
A list of standards and bag vendors is available. Don't be left with extra plastic bags - start phasing out your use of plastic now so you aren't left with bags that are completely banned in July.
- Program your registers for the individual sale of bags. Store receipts must show the number of bags sold and the total amount charged for the bags.
- Notify customers that the ban will be coming. Post informational signs that remind your customers to bring their reusable bags. The County has produced a “Bring Your Own Sac” poster for employees, a poster for customers, and a pop-up counter card. You may download these documents to print to use in your store.
- Train your employees about the ban including what bags require the $.10 fee, how best to fill a reusable bag and which customers may be exempt from the $.10 charge.
- Start keeping accurate records of bag sales. Stores need to keep records from date of sale, for three years, of the total number of recycled paper bags and reusable bags provided and the total amount of monies collected for recycled paper bags. Stores will need to make these records available to Sacramento County upon request.
This is a new County of Sacramento law. The goal is to reduce waste and the harm plastic bags cause our environment. The County plans to help businesses adjust through education and resources. If a store ignores the ban, citations and fines could be issued starting at $250.
A statewide plastic bag ban has been passed by the Legislature and is subject to referendum on November 8, 2016. By taking measures now you will already be in compliance if the statewide ban is upheld by voters.