There have been recent restrictions on the use of reusable bags in light of the COVID-19 crisis. On April 22, 2020 the Governor of California issued Executive Order N-54-20 suspending for a period of 60 days the State law provisions related to both charging for carry-out bags provided to customers and providing either paper or reusable bags when it was not possible for the store to provide a compliant bag. The City Council adopted a resolution establishing a policy on the temporary suspension of enforcement of Chapter 16, Article IV (Reusable Bag Ordinance) of the Mountain View City Code on May 5, 2020 to be consistent with the State Order.
No enforcement action will be taken on any stores in Mountain View that do not charge for carry-out bags and/or do not provide compliant bags under the suspended Reusable Bag Ordinance until the end of the State Executive Order or any subsequent COVID-19 related orders from the State or Governor.
Are reusables sanitary, and is it safe for me to use them once they are allowed again? Yes, reusables are sanitary and safe to use when properly washed. Soap and hot water are effective at killing viruses and bacteria. Reusable grocery and produce bags can go in the washing machine with other laundry. For reusable food ware, home and commercial dishwashers are more effective relative to handwashing because of the added benefit of a prolonged wash cycle at high temperatures. As with non-reusables, be sure not to let your reusable cup touch the spigot or dispenser when filling up with water or coffee. Common sense and good hygiene practices are all you need to keep reusables sanitary and safe.
Since Earth Day, April 22, 2013, customers must bring shopping bags from home or purchase a paper or reusable bag from retail stores and other places of business in Mountain View. The City's ordinance preempts the State law adopted in 2015 and upheld by voters in 2016, but the provisions are similar.
The minimum charge for a reusable or recycled-content paper bags remains at ten cents ($0.10) per bag effective January 1, 2015. The amended ordinance was adopted by Mountain View City Council in September 2014 to eliminate an increase to $.25 per bag because the current $.10 bag charge has been sufficient to motivate shoppers to use reusable bags. For the full ordinance, click here.
The Reusable Bag Ordinance was approved by City Council after considering an Environmental Impact Report in which Mountain View joined 24 other cities to study the effects of single-use plastic bags on the environment. The intent of the ordinance is to prevent harm to marine life, damage to stormwater utility systems, reduce litter and waste, and conserve natural resources. The Ordinance also supports the City to meet requirements to reduce plastic bags found in waterways under the Municipal Stormwater Permit issued by the Regional Water Quality Control Board.
The Ordinance focuses on customers to encourage shopping with reusable bags to save natural resources and reduce waste. In order to promote a shift to reusable bags, the Ordinance requires sellers to charge customers a minimum of ten cents on each recycled paper or reusable bag. Sellers use the revenue from the bag charges to pay for bags and help with record-keeping costs. Customers paying for goods with WIC or food stamp cards may be provided a recycled paper bag at no charge.
The City mailed a Retailer’s Toolkit with information and temporary signs to all retail businesses based on business licenses. In addition, City representatives visited stores to answer questions, provide technical assistance, window posters, decals, cashier tent signs, parking lot signs, and an information packet with tips for retailers, bag specifications and a list of bag suppliers. To schedule a store visit, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (650) 903-6311. The Retailer’s Toolkit, ordinance, and more information are available below under Documents.
The City provided information to customers in April 2013 at festivals and at grocery stores throughout the City; and at meetings of the Council Neighborhood Committee. For information about the ordinance, see documents below or contact us at email@example.com, call (650) 903-6311.