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Retailer Requirements

All grocery stores, supermarkets, mini-marts, convenience stores, liquor stores, pharmacies, drug stores or other entities that sell milk, bread, soda AND snack foods (all four items) and/or alcohol (Type 20 or 21 license) in Alameda County are affected.

Businesses not affected include retail stores not selling packaged food, and public eating establishments including restaurants, coffee shops and bakeries. A public eating establishment is a business that receives 90 percent or more of its revenue from the sale of food prepared on the premises.

Starting July 1, 2012

Recordkeeping Requirements:

  • All affected stores shall keep complete and accurate monthly records of:

    • The number of paper carryout bags purchased and sold to customers.

    • The number of reusable bags purchased and sold to customers.

  • Affected stores must keep records of any days on which free reusable bags are distributed.  Bag giveaways must be an infrequent and limited time promotion, not exceeding a total of 90 days in any consecutive 12-month period.

  • This information is to be collected from July 1, 2012 through December 31, 2013, or starting 30 days after the notification that the store is affected by the ordinance.

  • Beginning January 8, 2013, this information should be kept at the store for review upon request.

  • Please see the Frequently Asked Questions About Reporting to help affected stores track bag sales and purchases. The Retailer Fact Sheet includes definitions of reusable bags and recycled paper bags.

Ordinance 2012-02, Section 7a (Recordkeeping and Inspection) states that:
Every store shall keep complete and accurate records of the number of recycled paper bags and the number of reusable bags purchased and sold each month at these tore during the period commencing July 1, 2012 and ending December 31, 2013.  The store shall also keep complete and accurate records of the days on which free reusable bags are distributed pursuant to section 4(e) of the Ordinance, as well as the number of bags distributed.   After December 31, 2013, every store is required to keep complete and accurate records of the purchase and sale of both reusable and recycled paper bags on site, available for inspection.   

Starting January 1, 2013

Single-use Bag Requirement:

Affected stores may no longer provide customers with single-use bags at check-out.

Bag Sales Requirements:

  • Affected stores that distribute recycled paper or reusable bags must charge 10 cents or more per bag. These bags must meet the specifications in the ordinance (see Bag Specifications page).

  • All sales of recycled paper bags and reusable bags must be itemized on the customer receipt.

  • All proceeds from the sale of recycled paper bags and reusable bags are retained by the retailer without any restrictions on their use

Bags at No Cost:

  • The ordinance requires stores to provide recycled content paper bag(s) or reusable bag(s) (retailer’s choice) at no cost to customers participating in the WIC and CalFresh/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program (receiving “food stamps”).   Stores should provide enough bags necessary to carry the items purchased at the store.  The bag charge cannot be deducted from WIC and CalFresh/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, but rather be provided free of charge.

  • Protective Bags made of paper or plastic that do not have handles are allowed if they are used to:

    • Transport produce from produce department, bulk food from bulk food area, meat from meat department, or medication from pharmacy to checkout, OR

    • Separate food or merchandise that could damage or contaminate other food or merchandise when placed together in a single bag.

  • Affected stores must keep records of any days on which free reusable bags are distributed.  Bag giveaways must be an infrequent and limited time promotion, not exceeding a total of 90 days in any consecutive 12-month period.