• Plastic Bags


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Single Use Plastic Bags


In December 2011, the City of Sunnyvale adopted a single-use carryout bag ordinance. This ordinance prohibits the use of plastic bags and requires paper bags distributed to be a minimum of 40% post-consumer recycled content, accompanied by a ten cent charge that is kept by the store. Bags recommended for use include durable reusable bags.

  • Phase 1 took effect on June 20, 2012 for all grocery, convenience, liquor and drug stores. Also included are other large stores sized 10,000 square feet and over and/or stores that generate $2 million or more that sell perishable goods.
  • Phase 2 took effect on March 20, 2013 for all other retailers.
  • On September 26, 2013, revisions to the ordinance became effective which include:

    • A 10 cent charge also applies to reusable bags:
    • Reusable bags must meet specific durability requirements:
    • Paper bag charge will NOT increase to 25 cents:


Paper bags: Paper bags distributed must be a minimum of 40% post-consumer recycled content accompanied by a ten cent charge. Country of origin and percentage of recycled content must clearly be stated on the bag. Refer to the paper bag supplier list to find a manufacturer in compliance.

Plastic bags: Compostable/ biodegradable bags or plastic bags that are 2.25 mils thick but do not meet the other standards for durability and toxicity are defined as single-use, do not meet ordinance requirements, and are not allowed for distribution. Meat and produce bags are allowed to segregate food items upon purchase.

Reusable bags at the checkout stand: 

  • Stores can provide reusable bags with a charge of ten cents at the checkout stand (point of purchase) if they meet the requirements as defined in the ordinance.

   Reusable bags for sale on store shelves, kiosks or elsewhere in the store: 

  • There are no restrictions on reusable bags displayed and for sale on shelves, kiosks or elsewhere in the store other than point of sale. Reusable bags sold at point of sale are taxable. 


A state plastic bag recycling law called AB 2449 went into effect in 2007 that required most large grocery and pharmacy retailers to place clearly marked plastic recycling bins at each store. With Sunnyvale's Single-Use Carryout Bag Ordinance in place stores are no longer required to provide recycle bins for plastic bags, but are encouraged to do so as a community service to their customers.

Look Up local retailers accepting plastic bags for recycling. 


Through a program called "Bag It Forward" the City of Sunnyvale has partnered with Sunnyvale Community Services to collect and donate reusable bags.  For Other Living Things pet supply store (1261 S. Mary Ave) provides a drop off bin where new reusable bags can be dropped off.

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