Santa Barbara’s new shopping bag ordinance goes into effect this week at larger grocery stores and pharmacies. Eighteen stores must comply beginning May 14th. Single-use plastic carryout bags will no longer be available and paper bags can be purchased for 10 cents each. All shoppers are being strongly encouraged to bring their own bags or boxes.
The impacted stores, many of which are part of companies that have already implemented similar bans in other communities, are fully prepared to educate shoppers about the new rules. Most have been training their staff for weeks, and those staff have already begun alerting shoppers to the pending changes. Some stores have been distributing free reusable bags in anticipation of Wednesday’s effective date.
Meanwhile, an extensive public messaging campaign is underway, including television, radio, and movie theater advertising in English and Spanish, as well as print advertising and signs on local MTD buses. Copies of these materials as well as FAQs for businesses and shoppers are available online at the City’s hub for the bag ordinance:
Implementation of this ordinance is anticipated to help Santa Barbara use 44 million fewer plastic bags each year.