First Statewide Ban on Single-Use Plastic Bags Applies to a Broad Range of Retailers

  • Gov. Jerry Brown has approved the nation’s first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags. The ban applies to grocery stores and pharmacies beginning in July 2015, and the following year to convenience stores and any store that sells both food items and liquor.
  • The law as enacted will apply to many more stores than earlier bill versions. The ban takes effect July 1, 2015 for all pharmacies and any retailer that has gross annual sales of $2 million or more and sells “a line of dry groceries, canned goods, or nonfood items, and some perishable items.” Cal. Public Resources Section 42280(g)(1) and (2).
  • The ban takes effect a year later, on July 1, 2016, for convenience stores and food marts that sell a limited line of foods, “generally including milk, bread, soda, and snack foods,” and hold a Type 20 or Type 21 license from the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Section 42280(g)(3).
  • Importantly, the ban also takes effect on July 1, 2016 for any “other entity” that holds a Type 20 or Type 21 license and “is engaged in the retail sale of goods intended to be consumed off the premises.” Section 42280(g)(4). That will broaden the law’s application to many retailers who did not expect to be included under earlier bill versions.
  • The law is enforceable by any city, county, or the state. The penalty is $1,000 for the first violation, $2,000 for the second violation, and $5,000 for the third and subsequent violations