Effective July 1, 2013 retail establishments may no longer distribute single-use plastic checkout bags and must charge a minimum of ten cents for paper or reusable bags in Palo Alto. The store charge must be shown on customer receipts and reusable and paper bags must meet certain specifications. Records on bag sales must be kept and provided to the City upon request.
Food Service Establishments such as restaurants, delicatessens, convenience stores selling prepared food, and food trucks cannot distribute single-use plastic checkout bags for food items in Palo Alto. Customers can opt for no bag, paper bags may be provided to customers at no charge and reusable bags may be used at the discretion of customers and restaurants. Individual paper or plastic product bags without handles may be used around containers of soups or stews to prevent spilling.
Food Service Establishments located within a retail establishment (e.g., a café within a department store, or a delicatessen within a grocery store) must follow ordinance requirements for food service establishments when registers are designated only for the sale of prepared food as a stand-alone restaurant would. If customers purchase retail items along with prepared food the entire purchase is subject to the ordinance requirements for Retailers including a minimum ten cent charge for paper or reusable bags.
Read the complete Ordinance
Last updated on March 25, 2021