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Plastic Bag Law Implementation

(12/15/16 Update)

  • 80+ stores in Humboldt County’s unincorporated areas are in at least one of the store categories required to comply with the new law. Many stores prepared in advance and are already in compliance. Some stores are getting ready to comply with the new system while others are out of compliance.
  • Many Humboldt County shoppers have already used reusable shopping and takeout bags for decades. Many local shoppers are learning to adopt the new habit of reusable bags for shopping or restaurant food takeout. Single use bags were introduced to shoppers in the 1970’s. Prior to then, stores put shoppers’ purchases in paper bags.
  • To assist Humboldt stores and shoppers adjusting to the new system of reusable bags
    Zero Waste Humboldt will initiate a program of assistance and information tailored for local stores and a multimedia public education campaign in January 2017.
  • What are the benefits of the new reusable bag law?
    The many hidden costs to local government and environmental quality will be greatly reduced. Single use plastic bags (film plastics) have caused problems for Humboldt County’s street storm drains, wildlife, highway litter, and recycling operations for 40 years. There are no local manufacturers that recycle film plastic to make their products. Nationwide and in Humboldt County, only about 3% of plastic bags are actually recycled, and due to contamination, much of these bags are disposed.

  • Why is there a 10 cent charge for paper and reusable bags?
    Remember that single-use plastic bags were never really free. Stores rolled the cost they paid per plastic bag into the price of groceries, meaning that even people who bring their own bags to the store were paying for other shoppers’ plastic bags.   The 10 cent charge will:
  • –Offset the greater cost of paper and reusable bags for the grocers/retailers.
    -Ensure that customers who bring their own bags don’t have to supplement the cost of other shoppers’ use of the wasteful single-use bags anymore.
    –Encourage waste prevention through the use of reusable bags.
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