Monterey Switches to Reusable Bags

The cost for paper bags at all retail facilities in the City of Monterey 25 cents per bag. (effective Jan. 1, 2013)

Here's a comprehensive list of FAQ Questions and Answers for both shoppers and retailers .

Bag Ban Point of Purchase

Here's what the ordinance does:

  • Prohibits all Monterey retail stores from providing customers with single-use plastic carryout (shopping) bags, including those advertised as compostable, biodegradable, photo-degradable or similar.
  • Allows retail stores to provide customers with any size recyclable paper or reusable carryout bags.
  • Requires retail stores to charge a minimum of 25 cents for paper carryout bags.
  • Requires retail stores to show all bag-charges on customer receipts; stores keep all revenue. The charge is not taxed.
  • Allows retail stores to provide carryout bags made of plastic 2.25 mils or thicker, with or without charge at their discretion.
  • Requires that paper bags to which the charge applies contain at least 40 percent post-consumer recycled fiber and display the minimum recycled content on the outside of the bag.
  • Promotes reusable carryout bags as the best alternative to single-use plastic bags.

Exemptions from the ordinance

  • Plastic bags used in stores for bulk items or to protect vegetables, meat, fish and poultry, frozen foods, flowers, deli foods and similar where moisture would be a problem are exempt.
  • Plastic bags for take-out orders from restaurants are allowed, though use of recyclable paper bags is encouraged.
  • Dry-cleaner, newspaper, and door-hanger bags.
  • Restaurants or take-out food establishments that receive 90% or more of its revenue from the sale of food that is prepared on premises.
  • Non-profit charitable re-users that reuses or recycles donated goods or materials and receives more than 50% of its revenue from the sale of them.
  • A retail establishment may provide a customer participating in the California Special Supplement Food Program for women, infants, and children one or more recyclable or reusable bags at no cost.

Definition of a reusable bag

  • A bag made of cloth or other machine washable fabric that has handles.
  • Durable plastic bag with handles that is at least 2.25 mils thick, specifically designed and manufactured for reuse.

Definition of a paper bag

  • Contains no old growth fiber - A minimum of 40% post-consumer recycled content.
  • Is 100% recyclable.
  • Printed on the outside of the bag in a highly visible manner the words "Reusable" and "Recyclable", name and location of manufacturer and percentage of recycled content.