Bag Ban Toolkit


Interested in passing a plastic bag ordinance in your city or county? To get started, check out the resources below, including links to the most current local ordinances.

Reusable Bag Safety. Rebuttals and related links for:

Ordinance Results:

  • Local bans have directly eliminated over 5 billion plastic shopping bags per year and all the resulting litter and waste—66 million lbs of plastic.
  • Local policies have reduced paper bag consumption by nearly 400 million bags annually.
  • Local bag policies have already resulted in the reduction of approximately 185,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year.
  • LA County: 95% reduction of all single-use bags (30% reduction of paper) (also see this Nov 2012 update).
  • San Jose:  San Jose found a 76% reduction in creek and river litter, a 59% drop in park and roadside plastic bag litter, and a 69% reduction in plastic bag litter in storm drains.  Visual observations in stores reported that 54.6% of bags used by customers were reusable, and 44.6% of customers did not use any bag.
  • Alameda County: In less than 2 years, 85% fewer bag purchases overall as stores reported buying 50-90% fewer bags.  More than double the amount of customers are now bringing in their own bags or leaving without any.  Plastic bags found in storm drains decreased by roughly 44%.
  • San Francisco (Table ES-5): 18% reduction in plastic bag street litter from 2007 to 2009.
  • Mountain View: From July 2009 to July 2014, observed that shoppers using single-use bags decreased from 66% to 11%, while shoppers that used reusable bags or no bags increased from 34% to 89%.
  • San Mateo County: 162% more people bringing their own bags, 130% more people carrying out items without a bag.
  • Santa Barbara: After 2 years, almost 45 million single-use plastic shopping bags were eliminated; an estimated 95% of all plastic bags generated in the city.  The vast majority of consumers shifted to reusable or no bags, with paper bag consumption reduced by as much as 42%.
  • Santa Cruz/Monterey: Beach cleanups show that as more local bans were passed between 2009 and 2013, the average number of plastic bags found decreased from 65 per event to just 6.
  • Southern California cities with bag bans have one-third as many plastic bags/pieces in their storm water runoff.

Other facts:

  • Every Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) to date has demonstrated that replacing the 10 billion single-use plastic bags with reusable bags will result in a substantially reduced environmental footprint.
  • While many consumers will continue to use a favorite reusable bag for years, LCA’s indicate that reusable bags, including those made from thick recycled plastic as authorized by SB270, can have a reduced environmental impact after a relatively small number of ‘reuses’. 

Need more information? Learn more about The Problem of Plastic Bags. Check out our Campaign to End Single-Use Plastic Bags. Jurisdictions should consider joining our Local Government Collaborative. For more information, call (916) 443-5422.