BILL NUMBER: AB 68 AMENDED
AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY MARCH 31, 2009
INTRODUCED BY Assembly Member Brownley
( Principal coauthor: Senator
( Coauthors: Assembly Members
Blumenfield, Chesbro, Feuer,
Huffman, Krekorian, Ma, Nava,
John A. Perez, and Yamada )
( Coauthor: Senator
DECEMBER 12, 2008
An act to add Chapter 5.3 (commencing with Section 42280) to Part
3 of Division 30 of the Public Resources Code, relating to solid
LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST
AB 68, as amended, Brownley. Solid waste: single-use carryout
Existing law requires an operator of a store, as defined, to
establish an at-store recycling program that provides to customers
the opportunity to return clean plastic carryout bags to that store.
Existing law imposes various requirements on at-store recycling
programs, including requiring a store to maintain records describing
the collection, transport, and recycling of plastic carryout bags
collected by the store.
Under existing law, the California Integrated Waste Management
Board (board) administers laws related to waste management.
Existing law establishes in the Natural Resources Agency (agency) the
Department of Conservation, which, among other things, administers
laws related to beverage container recycling.
This bill would, on and after July 1, 2011
2010 , prohibit a store, as defined, from providing a
single-use carryout bag to a customer unless the store charges a fee
of not less than $0.25 per bag at the point of sale. The bill would
exempt certain customers from paying the fee. The bill would
establish the Bag Pollution Fund in the State Treasury and would
require a store to remit the single-use carryout bag fees, less a
specified amount, to the State Board of Equalization for deposit in
that fund. The bill would prohibit a store from distributing a
single-use carryout bag that is not a plastic or compostable carryout
bag that meets specific requirements.
The bill would require the agency and the board
to administer and enforce the single-use carryout bag provisions and
would require the State Board of Equalization to administer the
collection of the fees imposed on those bags.
The moneys in the fund would be required to be expended, upon
appropriation by the Legislature, in a specified order of priority,
by the board for grants to cities and counties for programs related
to single-use carryout bags and reusable bag giveaway programs, by
the State Board of Equalization to reimburse its costs associated
with collecting the fees, by the agency and board
for purposes of implementing the above provisions, and by the board,
in consultation with specified state agencies, to develop and
implement specified programs related to single-use carryout bags.
The bill would expressly prohibit the expenditure of revenues
from the fund for activities unrelated to the prevention or reduction
of single-use bag pollution.
The bill would require the board, on or before January 1, 2013, to
submit to the Legislature a report regarding the effectiveness of
the above provisions and recommendations to further encourage the use
of reusable bags.
Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes.
State-mandated local program: no.
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
SECTION 1. The Legislature finds and declares all of the
(a) Single-use carryout bags provided by stores impose hidden
costs on consumers, local governments, the state, taxpayers, and the
(b) Litter from plastic carryout bags poses a significant burden
to California's economy and a serious threat to our marine ecosystem.
It is estimated that Californians consume 19 billion plastic
carryout bags per year. However, according to the California
Integrated Waste Management Board, the recycling rate for these bags
is less than five percent and it currently costs the state
twenty-five million dollars ($25,000,000) annually to landfill
discarded plastic bags. Public agencies in California also spend more
than three hundred million dollars ($300,000,000) annually in litter
(c) Despite past efforts to control ocean litter, the quantity of
trash in the coastal and ocean environment is increasing dramatically
worldwide. It is estimated that 60 to 80 percent of all marine
debris, and 90 percent of floating debris is plastic. It may take
hundreds of years for this plastic to break down and some plastics
never truly biodegrade in the marine environment. Streams and storm
drains carry plastic bags to the ocean where they are frequently
mistaken as food by marine life. Over 267 species worldwide have been
impacted by plastic litter such as plastic bags through entanglement
(d) Imposing a fee on carryout bags has proven successful in
significantly reducing the number of single-use carryout bags. Since
2002, Ireland has implemented a twenty-two euro-cent (€0.22)
levy, which is equivalent to thirty-three cents ($0.33), on
single-use plastic bags and reported a significant decrease in
consumer use and pollution from carryout bags by over 90 percent. The
levy has generated more than one hundred seventeen million euros
(€117,000,000), which is equivalent to one hundred fifty million
dollars ($150,000,000), to support waste reduction and prevention
programs, promote environmentally friendly products, implement local
waste management plans, and implement environmental education and
(e) Paper bags made from virgin materials are not sustainable
alternatives to plastic carryout bags because the production of these
types of bags contributes to deforestation, natural resource
depletion, greenhouse gas emissions, and additional waterborne
wastes. Paper carryout bags that contain no old-growth fiber are 100
percent recyclable and contain a minimum of 40 percent postconsumer
recycled content have fewer negative impacts than virgin paper bags.
(f) Plastics made from biobased sources that are marketed as
"compostable" or "biodegradable" have not been shown to degrade in
aquatic environments and require conditions only available in
composting facilities to rapidly break down into constituents that
assimilate back into the environment. With the exception of the City
and County of San Francisco, the City of Oakland, and a few other
communities, these composting facilities are not typically available
to local jurisdictions and compostable plastic in communities without
commercial composting would be disposed of as waste.
(g) On February 8, 2007, the Ocean Protection Council adopted a
comprehensive resolution to reduce marine debris by targeting
specific actions on single-use plastic packaging. On November 20,
2008, the Ocean Protection Council adopted a final implementation
strategy for that resolution that includes a legislative
recommendation to charge consumers a fee on all single-use plastic
and paper carryout bags as an incentive for consumers to switch to
reusable bags. The Ocean Protection Council further recommended that
fees on commonly littered items, such as single-use bags, should fund
litter abatement, stormwater capture, and litter prevention and
outreach programs to reduce the incidence of marine debris.
(h) Requiring stores to end the subsidy of single-use
carryout bags and charge their full economic and environmental costs
will provide consumers with an appropriate market signal to make
informed decisions regarding carryout bag reduction and
reuse options will encourage consumers to opt for
reusable bags .
(i) Requiring stores to charge and remit a fee for the
distribution of single-use carryout bags will help the state and
local governments to offset the environmental and social costs of
single-use carryout bags.
(j) There is a need for a long-term shift away from
litter control and waste management and towards pollution prevention
and sustainable materials in the development of consumer products.
(k) Green chemistry, material science, and sustainable
design offer a new approach to solving environmental damage caused by
single-use carryout bags.
(l) The imposition of the fees pursuant to Section
42281 of the Public Resources Code would not result in the imposition
of a tax within the meaning of Article XIII A of the California
Constitution because the amount and nature of the fee have a fair and
reasonable relationship to the environmental, public health, and
societal burdens imposed by the use of single-use carryout bags, and
there is a sufficient nexus between the fees imposed and the use of
those fees to support programs to prevent the litter of single-use
carryout bags, to clean up the litter caused by single-use carryout
bags, and to encourage the reduction of the use of single-use
(m) (1) There is a clear nexus between the type and
amount of the fees imposed pursuant to this act and the
environmental, public health, and societal costs resulting from
single-use carryout bags.
(2) It is the intent of the Legislature that the fees that are
imposed pursuant to Section 42281 of the Public Resources Code be
consistent with Sinclair Paint Co. v. State Bd. of Equalization
(1997) 15 Cal.4th 866.
SEC. 2. Chapter 5.3 (commencing with Section 42280) is added to
Part 3 of Division 30 of the Public Resources Code, to read:
CHAPTER 5.3. SINGLE-USE CARRYOUT BAGS
Article 1. Definitions
42280. For purposes of this chapter, the following definitions
(a) "Agency" means the Natural Resources Agency.
(b) "Bag Pollution Cleanup Fee" means the fee imposed pursuant to
(c) "Board" means the California Integrated Waste Management
(d) "Cal-EPA" means the California Environmental Protection
(e) "Fund" means the Bag Pollution Fund, established pursuant to
subdivision (a) of Section 42285.
(f) (1) "Green carryout bag" means a single-use carryout bag that
is provided by a store to a customer at the point of sale and meets
all of the following requirements:
(A) Is composed of at least 40 percent post-consumer recycled
(B) Is accepted in curbside recycling programs serving at least 80
percent of households in the state.
(C) Is capable of composting within 180 days, as determined by the
(2) "Green carryout bag" does not include a reusable bag.
(g) "Reusable bag" means a reusable bag that is made of cloth or
other machine washable fabric that is specifically designed and
manufactured for multiple reuse.
(h) "Single-use carryout bag" means a single-use carryout bag that
is provided by a store to a customer at the point of sale and that
is not a reusable bag and includes a "biodegradable" or "compostable"
carryout bag meeting the requirements specified in Section 42357.
(a) "Bag Pollution Cleanup Fee" means the fee imposed pursuant to
(b) "Board" means the California Integrated Waste Management
(c) "Compostable carryout bag" means a carryout bag provided by a
store to a customer at point of sale that meets both of the following
(1) Is derived from 100 percent biobased sources containing no
products derived from genetically modified feedstocks.
(2) Meets the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)
Standard Specification for Compostable Plastics as specified in
subparagraph (A) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of Section
(d) "Fund" means the Bag Pollution Fund established pursuant to
subdivision (a) of Section 42285.
(e) "Paper carryout bag" means a carryout bag provided by a store
to a customer at point of sale that meets all of the following
(1) Contains no old-growth fiber.
(2) Is 100 percent recyclable.
(3) Contains a minimum of 40 percent postconsumer recycled
(f) "Plastic carryout bag" means a plastic bag designed for single
use that is provided by a store to a customer at the point of sale.
(g) "Reusable bag" means a bag that is made of cloth or other
machine washable fabric that is specifically designed and
manufactured for multiple reuse.
(h) "State board" means the State Board of
(i) "Store" means a retail establishment that provides
single-use carryout bags or green paper,
compostable, or plastic carryout bags to its customers as a
result of the sale of a product and that meets any of the following
(1) Meets the definition of a "supermarket" in Section 14526.5.
(2) Has over 10,000 square feet of retail space that generates
sales or use tax pursuant to the Bradley-Burns Uniform Local Sales
and Use Tax Law (Part 1.5 (commencing with Section 7200) of Division
2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code) and has a pharmacy licensed
pursuant to Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 4000) of Division 2 of
the Business and Professions Code.
(3) Is a chain convenience food store or foodmart
primarily engaged in retailing a limited line of goods that generally
includes milk, bread, soda, and snacks, and has a total
combined cumulative square footage of 10,000
square feet or more.
Article 2. Bag Pollution Cleanup Fee
42281. (a) Except as provided in Section 42283, on and after July
1, 2010, a store shall not provide a single-use carryout bag
, including a green carryout bag, to a customer at
the point of sale, unless the store charges the customer not less
than twenty-five cents ($0.25) per bag.
(b) A store shall only distribute reusable bags, or single-use
carryout bags that are paper, compostable, or plastic carryout bags.
(c) The amount charged pursuant to paragraph
(1) of subdivision (a) shall not be subject to sales tax,
shall be separately stated on the receipt provided to the customer at
the time of sale, and shall be identified as the Bag Pollution
(d) (1) A store charging a fee pursuant to subdivision
(a) may retain a portion of the fee, as specified in paragraph (2),
in an amount necessary to reimburse the store's costs associated with
complying with this chapter, in accordance with Section 42284.5. The
store shall remit the remainder of the fee to the state board
pursuant to Section 42284.
(2) (A) Before
January 1, 2013, a A store may retain not more
than five cents ($0.05) of the fee for each single-use
plastic or compostable carryout bag
that is not a green carryout bag. For a single-use carryout bag that
is a green carryout bag, a bag. A store may
retain not more than ten cents ($0.10) of the fee for each bag.
(B) On and after January 1, 2013, a store may retain an amount
established by the department, based on the department's
determination of the costs of complying with Section 42284.5.
(e) Any other transaction fee charged by a store in
relation to providing a single-use carryout bag shall be identified
separately from the Bag Pollution Cleanup Fee.
42283. The fee imposed pursuant to Section 42281 shall not be
charged to either of the following:
(a) A customer participating in the California Special
Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children (Article 2
(commencing with Section 123275) of Chapter 1 of Part 2 of Division
106 of the Health and Safety Code).
(b) A customer participating in the State Department of Social
Services Food Stamp Program.
42284. A store that collects the Bag Pollution Cleanup Fee
pursuant to Section 42281 shall calculate the amount of money
collected and, after deducting the amount specified in subdivision
(c) of Section 42281, shall, in accordance with Section 42288, remit
the remainder to the state board for deposit into the fund.
42284.5. A store charging a fee pursuant to Section 42281 shall
use the amount of the fee retained pursuant to subdivision (c) of
Section 42281 for all of the following:
(a) Reimbursement of the store's costs associated with the
collection and remittance of the fee pursuant to Sections 42281 and
(b) The development of in-store educational materials for
distribution to customers encouraging the use of reusable bags.
(c) The development and implementation of an educational campaign
encouraging the use of reusable bags, including, but not limited to,
public service announcements.
(d) Reimbursement of the store's costs associated with providing
reusable bags to customers participating in programs described in
subdivisions (a) and (b) of Section 42283.
(e) Reimbursement of the store's costs associated with providing
reusable bags as donations to community organizations, nonprofit
organizations, and other similar entities.
(f) Reimbursement of the store's costs associated with the
use purchase of single-use
plastic, compostable, and paper carryout bags.
42285. (a) The Bag Pollution Fund is hereby established in the
State Treasury. All fees collected by the state board pursuant to
this chapter shall be deposited in the fund.
(b) The moneys in the fund shall be expended, upon appropriation
by the Legislature in the annual Budget Act, in the manner and in the
order of priority as follows:
(1) (A) By the board, 80 percent of the moneys in the fund, for
grants to cities and counties, on a per capita basis, for the
(i) Establishing and maintaining local programs to control
pollution from single-use carryout bags, including those programs in
partnership with nonprofit community-based organizations, for
purposes of litter cleanup activities.
(ii) Source reduction efforts to help implement zero waste
programs, litter prevention programs, and litter prevention education
and outreach programs related to single-use carryout bags.
(iii) Mitigation projects relating to stormwater pollution caused
by single use carryout bag, including devices to prevent single-use
carryout bag litter from entering storm drain systems.
(iv) Reusable bag giveaway programs, including those targeting
(B) Except as provided in subparagraph (C), the amount for which a
city or a county is eligible shall be based on the total population
of the incorporated area of the city or the total unincorporated area
of the county, whichever is applicable.
(C) If a city or county prohibits the use of all single-use
carryout bags, including green plastic,
paper, and compostable carryout bags, and no fees are collected
pursuant to Section 42281 within that jurisdiction, that city or
county shall not be eligible for grant funds pursuant to this
(2) No more than 5 3 percent of the
funds shall be expended by the state board, to reimburse the state
board's costs of administering Section 42288.
(3) No more than 5 3 percent shall
be expended by the agency and the board,
board for purposes of administering the requirements of this
(4) The remainder of the moneys in the funds shall be allocated on
an equal basis to the agency, the board, and Cal-EPA
board, the State Water Resources Control Board, the
Department of Toxic Substances Control, and the Ocean Protection
Council for the purposes of Section
Sections 42287 and 42287.1.
(c) The revenue from the Bag Pollution Cleanup Fund for the
purposes of this section shall not be expended on activities
unrelated to the prevention or reduction of single-use bag pollution
pursuant to Sinclair Paint Co. v. State Bd. of Equalization (1997) 15
42286. (a) The Legislature finds and declares that imposing a
single-use carryout bag fee upon a store is a matter of statewide
interest and concern.
(b) Unless expressly authorized by this chapter, a city, county,
or other public agency shall not adopt, implement, or enforce an
ordinance, resolution, regulation, or rule to impose a single-use
carryout bag fee upon a store that is in compliance with
sub ject to this chapter.
(c) This chapter does not preempt a city or county from
prohibiting the use, import, sale, or distribution of any plastic,
paper, or compostable carryout bag.
Article 3. Program and Report
42287. The board shall, in consultation with Cal-EPA
the Ocean Protection Council , the State Water
Resources Control Board, and the Department of Toxic Substances
Control, develop and implement programs to encourage and support
pollution prevention, abatement and ,
cleanup, enforcement, green chemistry and product design ,
water quality protection and cleanup, and environmental and public
education and outreach related to the use of single-use carryout
42287.1. On or before January 1, 2012, the board, in
consultation with Cal-EPA, 2013, the board shall
submit a report to the Legislature regarding the effectiveness of
this chapter, the report shall also include recommendations to
further encourage the use of reusable bags by consumers and retailers
and to reduce the consumption of single-use bags, including at a
minimum, both of the following:
(a) Expanding the definition of stores that are subject to this
chapter to all other stores and retail establishments distributing
single-use bags, including the retail establishments specified in
subdivision (b) of Section 42251.
(b) Increasing the fee imposed pursuant to Section 42281 ,
including necessary adjustments for inflation, to increase the
effectiveness of this chapter.
Article 4. Administration and Enforcement
42288. (a) The state board shall administer and collect the Bag
Pollution Cleanup Fee pursuant to the Fee Collection Procedures Law
(Part 30 (commencing with Section 55001) of Division 2 of the Revenue
and Taxation Code).
(b) The state board may adopt rules and regulations to carry out
this article, including, but not limited to, provisions governing
collections, reporting, refunds, and appeals.
(c) The Bag Pollution Cleanup Fee shall be due and payable
quarterly on or before the 25th day of the month following each
calendar quarter. Payments shall be accompanied by a form, as
prescribed by the state board, including, but not limited to,
(d) The state board may require the payment of the fee for other
than quarterly periods.
42288.5. Except as otherwise provided by this chapter, the
agency and the board shall administer and enforce