Encouraging the use of reusable bags is one example of the programs being implemented by the City to work toward the City's "Zero Waste" goal whereby no materials are landfilled, but instead fully recycled, repaired or reused by the year 2025. In 2013, City Council adopted an ordinance regulating the provision of single-use bags at grocery stores, pharmacies and convenience stores in Mill Valley. The City is now expanding the ordinance to apply to all retail stores and businesses, including retail and department stores, hardware stores, restaurants, catering truck, vendor at farmers market, city-sponsored events within Mill Valley and/or others that sell or provide merchandise, goods, material or other tangible items (such as clothing, food or personal items) directly to a customer. Dry cleaners are exempt from the ordinance.
Summary of the Ordinance
Businesses cannot provide customers with plastic carryout bags at the point of sale. "Product bags" used to protect items from damage (such a produce, wine, pharmacy items and bulk items), and in the case of restaurants, bags to that are used to avoid spillage are excluded from bag fees and plastic bag ban.
Stores are required to charge $0.10 for each paper bag provided at the point of sale. Bag fees are retained by stores and can be used for any lawful purpose.
Customers may purchase a post-consumer recycled paper bag or a reusable bag at the point-of sale, or bring their own reusable bag from home to package items.
Customers participating in WIC or Supplemental Food Programs are excluded from bag charges.
The new ordinance will be adopted by City Council at their February 17, 2014 meeting. The City intends to work with businesses between now and August 16, 2015 to implement the ordinance. Businesses not in compliance by August 17, 2015 will be fined (see ordinance (PDF) for details).