In just a few days, the Carryout Bag Ordinance goes into effect in Davis, and shopping will be a little bit different for everyone.
Starting July 1, stores will no longer provide carryout bags for free. Flimsy, single-use plastic bags will become a thing of the past as stores will no longer be allowed to bag purchases in them. Customers who want a bag to carry their purchases out of a store will have to either bring their own bag or purchase a paper or reusable carryout bag for at least 10 cents.
Restaurants will be affected too. Take-out food orders at restaurants will not be placed in single-use plastic bags, only paper or reusable bags. Plastic bags can still be provided for soups and other foods that may spill or drip.
In November, 2013, the Davis City Council passed Ordinance No. 2422, the Single-Use Carryout Bags Ordinance, to reduce the distribution of single-use carryout bags and promote the use of reusable bags at all retail stores, restaurants and take-out food establishments in Davis. In May, the City Council refined a few parts of the ordinance as it pertained to restaurants and enforcement.
The main elements of the ordinance:
* Single-use plastic bags are banned from all retail stores and for take-out food at restaurants.
* Stores must charge a minimum of 10 cents per paper or reusable carryout bag provided to a customer.
* Stores keep the 10-cent bag fee to cover the cost of providing a bag to customers.
* Restaurants are not required to charge 10 cents for take-out food bags
* Paper carryout bags must contain at least 40 percent postconsumer recycled material.
* Reusable bags must be specifically designed and manufactured for multiple reuses and be cleanable.
* Customers may bring their own bag, refuse to take a bag or pay for a paper or reusable bag when shopping.
There are a few exemptions from the new ordinance. Nonprofit reuse stores are not affected by the ordinance, and customers paying with WIC, SNAP or CalFresh food stamps are not required to pay the 10 cent fee for carryout bags.
The only bags that are affected by this ordinance are bags that are provided to customers at the point of sale to carry away purchases. Bags for bulk items and bags to protect purchased items from damage are still free and exempt. Examples of bags customers can still receive free of charge include: produce bags for fruits and vegetables, paper bags for greeting cards, paper bags for loose items like candy or nuts, pharmacy bags for prescription medication, and plastic bags for frozen foods or meats.
Customers are encouraged to wash reusable bags regularly, just like you would wash a dish, especially if your bags were used to carry fresh produce, meats or other items that may have soiled your bags. Some reusable bags can be placed in the washing machine for easy cleaning. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions for disinfecting and cleaning.
Thicker plastic bags may still be available at some stores if the bags meet the statewide standard of “reusable bags.” As with all bags offered at checkout though, stores will be charging a minimum of 10 cents per bag.
The city will be offering a community workshop for residents who have questions about the new ordinance on at 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 1, in the Veteran’s Memorial Center Game Room, 203 East 14th St. Residents who attend the workshops can enter to win reusable shopping bags!
The city has held several workshops to assist businesses in preparing for the new ordinance. Two more such workshops are planned for this week:
* 2 p.m. on Thursday, June 26, at the Hunt Boyer Conference Room at 604 Second St.
* 9 a.m. on Friday, June 27, at the Community Chambers Conference Room, 23 Russell Blvd.
For questions about the Carryout Bag Ordinance, please visit DavisRecycling.org, email PWWeb@CityofDavis.org or call the Public Works Department at 530-757-5688.
— Jennifer Gilbert is the Conservation Coordinator for the city of Davis.