Single-Use Bag Reduction Ordinance

The fee for paper carry-out bags is 25 cents.


A City of Santa Cruz ordinance that restricts the distribution of carry-out retail bags took effect on April 10, 2013. The ordinance bans the distribution of plastic carry-out bags and places a bag charge on paper carry-out bags. On April 10, 2014 the 10-cent per bag charge on paper carry-out bags increased to 25 cents.

Exemptions from the ordinance:

  • This City's ordinance does not apply to restaurants, including a café, bakery, delicatessen or catering truck, and also exempts prepared food from grocery and convenience stores’ food counters.
  • Customers participating in the California Special Supplemental Food Program, Food Stamp program, or other government-subsidized purchase programs for low-income residents are exempt from the per bag charge on paper bags.
  • The ban on single-use plastic bags and the charge on single-use paper bags do not apply to plastic or paper bags used to contain loose items prior to check-out or to protect produce, meat, or to protect items as they are put into a carry-out bag at checkout. Examples include: paper bags to protect bottles, plastic bags around ice cream or other wet items, paper bags used to weigh candy, paper pharmacy bags to hold drugs, or paper bags to protect greeting cards.

The City of Santa Cruz joins the County of Santa Cruz, City of Capitola, City of Watsonville and dozens of other California cities and counties that have enacted Single-Use Bag Reduction ordinances. 

Resources for Businesses:

Information letter for Businesses

Placard for Use at Check-Out Location(s)

BOE Notice-Sales Tax Does Not Apply to Paper Bag Surcharges

The Ordinance: Single-Use Bag Ordinance

What can I do?  Say No to single-use bags and Bring Your Own Bag (BYOB) every time and every where you shop.

For more information contact:

Bob Nelson, Operations Manager of Resource Recovery
City of Santa Cruz, Public Works Department
809 Center Street, Room 201
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 
email 

Phone:  831-420-5548

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