California Commits to Reusability

California Commits to Reusability
California was the first in the country to enact a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags at large retail stores, signing SB 270 into law in August 2014. While setting an example in curbing single-use plastic pollution, the state has also set standards for reusability.

But first, let’s revisit a little bag banning history:
A total of eight states—California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New York, Oregon and Vermont—have banned single-use plastic bags at point-of-sale at grocery stores, retail stores with pharmacies, convenience stores, food marts, and liquor stores. Retailers in these states must provide certified reusable bags or recycled paper bags with a minimum charge of 10 cents per bag.

While California has banned single-use plastic at checkouts, the state also enforces a certification process to ensure that all reusable bags comply with the requirements of SB 270. Earthwise Bags registered with the Reusable Grocery Bag Reporting System (RGBRS) in 2018 with a commitment to submit proof to CalRecycle via third party certification, while also paying biennial renewal fees of $12,000. You can see Earthwise here on the official roster of RGBRS.

As a supplier of sturdy bags to some of California’s biggest grocers, such as Ralph’s, Vons, Albertson’s, Safeway, and Bristol Farms, we don’t take our commitment to reusability lightly. So what’s in the bag? Reusable bags sold in California must meet the following requirements:
  • Handle strength for at least 125 uses
  • Minimum 15 liter capacity
  • Made from a material that can be cleaned
  • Does not contain lead, cadmium, or any other toxic material
  • Compliant with Federal Regulations on any recycling claims
  • Printed text, which is required to be on the bag or on a tag not intended to be removed, includes information like the name of manufacturer, country of manufacture, statement of reusability of over 125 times, and instructions for recycling
Next stop on California’s single-use plastic elimination journey: produce bags. Governor Gavin Newsom signed bill SB 1064 into law, banning “precheckout bags” in grocery stores, which will go into effect January 2025. This includes bags not only for produce but candy, meat, fish, bakery and bulk goods. Stay tuned for more progress as stores begin to phase out all single-use plastic bags. In the meantime, you can get ahead of the law and stock your store with any of these reusable produce bag solutions.