Carryout Bag Ordinance

Carryout Bag Ordinance -- Effective September 1, 2014

Do you operate a grocery store or retail establishment in Sonoma County? To address the growing problem of carryout bag waste, the Sonoma County Waste Management Agency passed the Carryout Bag Ordinance establishing a Waste Reduction Program for Carryout Bags and a related administrative penalties ordinance. The intent of the ordinance is to reduce solid waste and other environmental impacts related to the use of single-use carryout bags.

What you need to know:

  • Applies to all grocery stores and retail establishments. Does not apply to public eating establishments (stand-alone restaurants, delis, etc.) and nonprofit charitable reusers.
  • Prohibits all single-use plastic carryout bags (point-of-sale or checkout).
  • Requires a minimum .10¢ charge on all compliant recycled paper bags.
  • Charge must be displayed separately on customer receipt.
  • Stores to keep the charge.

Click this link to get the facts about the ordinance, to find suppliers of ordinance-compliant checkout bags and to download bilingual customer education materials. For additional questions, email or call 707-565-3375.


What shoppers need to know about the ordinance:

  • Beginning September 1, 2014, single-use plastic bags will no longer be available at all grocery and retail stores in Sonoma County.
  • Stores must charge a minimum of 10¢ for each paper bag.
  • The Waste Reduction Program for Carryout Bags Ordinance  is intended to reduce litter, keep plastic bags out of local waterways, and encourage the use of reusable bags.

Tips for remembering your bag when shopping

  • Put your bags where you will use them, such as in the car, on the doorknob, in your purse or backpack.
  • Is your bag in your cart or basket? As you enter a store make sure you have a bag. If you forgot, make the effort to go back and get it.
  • Put your kids in charge of remembering.

Get a locally-made reusable shopping bag

To help support local jobs and to help residents get in the habit of bringing their own bag, the Sonoma County Waste Management Agency has contracted with BPE-USA , Santa Rosa, to produce 10,000 reusable shopping bags. Bags are made from locally sourced overstock materials. Funding comes from the Sonoma County Waste Management Agency with support from community organizations, individuals and businesses. See calendar of events to get your Agency bag (while supplies last).