Press Coverage

Plastic bag ban takes effect in Chico on Jan. 1

The city’s bag ban takes effect Jan. 1. It’s a similar law to California’s upcoming ban on July 1. It will prohibit specified stores from providing single-use plastic carryout bags and require a charge for single-use recyclable paper bags. Up to 37 stores in Chico may be affected by the change, said Linda Herman, administration manager with the city of Chico. Earlier this month, she sent out notices to all corporate stores where the ban will be applicable as well as some mom-and-pop shops that might qualify. [ Read the rest of the article... ]

Below is a map provided by the Chico Enterprise-Record showing which stores are a part of the plastic bag ban.

-- Chico Enterprise-Record, Dec. 22, 2014

What does the Single Use Carryout Bag Ordinance do?

The ordinance bans single-use plastic bags in large grocery stores, pharmacies, and convenience stores. It took effect January 1, 2015. Convenience stores and smaller grocery stores have until 2016 to comply. The city's ordinance closely mirrors the state-adopted plastic bag ordinance.

Why was an ordinance adopted?

The Single Use Carryout Bag Ordinance was adopted by the Chico City Council to decrease the number of bags going to landfill, reduce litter in our local waterways, and save the city and county money on litter and storm drain cleanup. Cleaning up litter and storm drain trash costs California cities millions of dollars each year. This ordinance will help to reduce those costs since plastic bags are currently one of the most prominent items found in storm drains and cleanups. Californians use an estimated 13 billion plastic grocery bags each year, of which less than 5% are recycled.

When did the ordinance take effect?

Ordinance requirements went into effect January 1, 2015 for large grocery stores, pharmacies, and other retailers that carry a full line of groceries.

Which stores are affected?

large grocery stores, pharmacies, and other retailers that carry a full line of groceries.. Convenience stores and smaller grocery stores have until 2016 to comply.

Restaurants and take-out food establishments are not affected by the ordinance.

Why not include all stores in the city?

The ordinance includes the stores that traditionally distribute a high volume of single-use bags.

Can I bring my own plastic, paper and/or reusable bags?

Yes. Consumers may bring any type of bag (including single-use plastic bags) to a store for their purchases, and are encouraged to do so. Customers are only charged for bags provided by the store at check-out.

What if I forget to bring a bag and don’t want to purchase one?

Customers can carry their paid purchases out by hand, or put their goods back into a shopping cart or basket to transport to their vehicle to unload.

Are all bags provided by stores subject to a charge?

No. The ordinance does not regulate use of single-use bags used to protect and transport produce, bulk food or meat from within a store to the checkout or cash register. Other bags not subject to charge include bags provided for carry-out of hot/prepared foods for consumption at or away from the store, bags without handles provided to the customer to hold prescription medication dispensed from the pharmacy and bags without handles used to segregate food that could damage or contaminate other contents of a carry-out bag. A protective bag can also be put on an item at check-out to ensure the safety of the item (e.g. wine bottle sleeve) or change out the packaging for reuse (e.g. berries from the baskets to paper bags)..

Does everyone have to pay the paper bag charge?

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 California Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, CalFresh or other government programs for low-income residents. Stores should provide enough bags necessary to carry the items purchased at the store. The bag charge cannot be deducted from WIC benefits, but rather be provided free of charge

Who keeps the (minimum) 10 cents per bag?

All proceeds from the sale of recycled paper bags and reusable bags are retained by the retailer with no restrictions on their use.

Why is there a charge for paper bags?

The manufacture of single use paper bags requires energy and has environmental impacts. Charging for paper bags and restricting the use of plastic bags encourages reusable bag use.

Can non-affected stores sell bags to customers?

A non-affected store may sell bags to customers but is not required to do so. If a store is not affected and wishes to sell bags at check-out, they should inform customers that the sale of bags at checkout is a company decision and not a requirement of the Single Use Carryout Bag Ordinance.

How should I care for my reusable bags?

It is a good idea to regularly clean your bags. Most fabric bags can be washed in the washing machine. Other recommendations include: air out bags so moisture evaporates; and designate specific bags for meats and fish. Please see "Practical Tips for the Use and Care of Reusable Grocery Shopping Bags" from the California Department of Public Health.

Are reusable bags a health hazard?

Studies from multiple sources, including Consumer Union (publisher of Consumer Reports), have shown less bacteria on reusable bags than on most household surfaces regularly used for food preparation.

How will the Single Use Carryout Bag Ordinance be enforced?

The City of Chico will enforce the ordinance in consultation with city staff where the store resides. We expect stores to voluntarily comply and will provide assistance to help stores make the transition as easy as possible.  Warnings and enforcement actions will be taken as needed.

Have similar ordinances been successful elsewhere?

Yes, Single Use Carryout Bag Ordinances in other places including Los Angeles County and San Jose have been very effective in reducing the quantities of single use bags being distributed and becoming litter.

How can I learn more?

If you have questions about the ordinance, contact Linda Herman at call 530-896-7241 or You can download the ordinance here.