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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.

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 allows stores to decide on how they handle customers participating in WIC and CalFresh/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) programs. The ordinance:

    • Does not require the store to give out free reusable or free recycled paper bags.
    • Does not mandate stores to charge the fee to those participating in SNAP and WIC.

The ordinance language allows stores to make their own decision regarding providing recycled content paper bag(s) or reusable bag(s) (retailer's choice).  

Per SNAP and WIC program regulations (NOT the Authority's Ordinance 2012-2 regulations),if a store charges fees for bags, SNAP and WIC funds can not be used to pay those fees. 

  • 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.