Cupertino City Council unanimously voted to adopt a revised version of a Draft Reusable Bag Ordinance on January 15, 2013 as part of regional effort to promote a shift toward reusable bags. Changes to the draft ordinance are reflected in the February 5, 2013 attachments (draft resolution) to the staff report, and the second reading will be held on March 5, 2013. The new ordinance will help prevent litter that is harmful to the marine environment and reduce unnecessary waste.
Starting October 1, 2013, customers will need to shop with a reusable bag or purchase a recycled paper bag for a minimum charge of ten cents per bag upon checkout. On January 15, 2015 the minimum charge per bag increase to twenty-five cents. Disposable, thin plastic carryout bags will no longer be allowed for distribution. Bag charges are kept by the retailer to be used at their discretion.
The ordinance affects any store selling perishable or nonperishable goods directly to the customer, including but not limited to grocery, pharmacy, clothing, convenience and liquor stores.
Reusable Bag Ordinance Adopted March 5, 2013
Reusable Bag Ordinance March 5, 2013 Staff Report
Cupertino is one of twenty-four participants in the San Mateo County Health Department's Environmental Impact Review (EIR) for a regional Reusable Bag Ordinance. San Mateo's regional ordinance was drafted to heighten customer use of reusable bags in a broad geographical area.
On October 23, 2012, San Mateo County Board of Supervisors certified the EIR and on November 6, 2013, they unanimously adopted the ordinance.
Note: A hardcopy of the Reusable Bag Ordinance Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) and Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is available for viewing at the Cupertino Public Library.
County of San Mateo Health System Website
County of San Mateo Reusable Bag Final EIR
County of San Mateo Reusable Bag Ordinance
- Customers paying with WIC, CalFresh, or other food stamp cards are exempt from the ordinance requirements.
- Dry cleaners
- Any public eating establishment that generates 90% or more of their revenue from prepared food (e.g. restaurants).
- Nonprofit charitable reusers (e.g. Goodwill).
- Protective bags, without handles, used to segregate and transport items to the checkout stand, such as meat, produce, greeting cards, wine bottles, live fish, or bulk items(e.g. dried fruit, bolts and nails).
City staff will be available to assist residents in acquiring the habit of remembering to bring a reusable bag when shopping. A Resident Toolkit will be prepared to help shoppers make the transition and will be available by May 2013. FREE reusable bags are available now for Cupertino residents at City Hall, 10300 Torre Avenue (resident ID required).
Reuse and Recycle All of Your Shopping Bags
- Plastic bags can be reused and recycled.
- Clean plastic bags, such as restaurant carryout bags, newspaper bags, dry cleaning bags, produce bags, and toilet paper and paper towel packaging can be recycled by placing them in a Cupertino curbside recycling bin. Plastic bags, film or wrapping can also be recycled at many grocery stores, for specific locations visit www.plasticbagrecycling.org
- Paper bags can be reused and then recycled in a curbside recycling bin.
Reusable Bag Tips
- To successfully eliminate disposable, thin shopping bags, customers will need more than one reusable bag. Cupertino is distributing FREE reusable bags to its residents at City Hall ( one per resident, ID required). Many local stores sell a variety of inexpensive reusable bags.
- Buy enough reusable bags to avoid paying for paper bags.
- Keep bags by the front door, in the car, laundry room, purse, backpack, at work, or any other area that will prompt you to remember to take them with you to the store.
- Treat cloth bags the same as your clothing, wash them regularly.
- Wipe other bags routinely with a sponge and mild soap to keep clean.
- Do not transport raw foods and other food products in the same bag.
- Do not use reusable grocery bags for other purposes, such as carrying books, laundry or gym clothes.
- Do not store reusable bags in the trunks of cars. The higher temperature can promote bacterial growth.
Resident Frequently Asked Questions
Updated Resident Presentation 1-22-13
Stores are encouraged to begin using up their remaining supply of disposable, thin plastic carryout bags that will no longer be allowed as of October 1, 2013.
A Retailer Toolkit will be prepared by City Staff to assist retailers meet all ordinance requirements. The toolkit will be distributed to stores no later than two months prior to the ordinance's effective date. To request a Retailer Toolkit in advance, call (408) 777-3243 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For questions about compliance, email email@example.com or call (408) 777-3241.
Retailer Presentation 1-8 -13
No Sales Tax on Paper Bag Charge
Local Jurisdictions with Adopted Bag Ordinances
City of Mountain View, City of Palo Alto, City of San Jose, City of Sunnyvale, County of Santa Clara
Other Bay Area Jurisdictions that have Taken Action
County of Alameda, City of Capitola, City of Fremont, County of Marin, City of Menlo Park, City of Millbrae, City of Monterey, City of Pacifica, City of San Bruno, City and County of San Francisco, City and County of Santa Cruz, City of South San Francisco
For additional information or questions, contact Environmental Programs staff at (408) 777-3241 or firstname.lastname@example.org