Single-Use Bag Reduction Ordinance

The City of Napa, like cities and counties across the country, is in the process of instituting a plastic bag ban in an effort to prevent pollution and save money. This will reduce litter and waste as well as contamination in recycling and composting programs—in turn, reducing costs to taxpayers in the City of Napa. In addition, the law will improve water quality in our rivers and streams, the Bay, and the ocean by reducing plastic bag pollution.


In the City of Napa alone, it is estimated that 27 million plastic bags per year are discarded, yet only about 3percent of these are recycled properly. The rest end up in our landfills, on our streets and roads, and in our waterways. Napa Recycling and Waste collects about 1,000 pounds of these bags per day.  

Currently, more than 100 other cities in California have similar bag laws in effect and the results are impressive. These communities have seen a 95 percent decrease in plastic bag use, a 30 percent decrease in paper bag use, a 59 percent decrease in litter on streets, and a 60 percent decrease in litter in waterways.  

The ultimate goal of the Napa ordinance is to transition to reusable bags. Single-use plastic bags provided at the point of purchase by retail stores in the City of Napa will no longer be permitted. Paper bags will be allowed and provided for 10 cents per bag to encourage customers to use reusable bags; retailers will use this to offset the real costs of providing paper bags.

As with most laws, there are some logical exceptions and exemptions. A more comprehensive description of what is covered under the ordinance can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions on the City’s website.  You can also find more information about the environmental and economic costs of plastic bags and links to additional resources on the issue.  

The “Single-Use Bag Reduction Ordinance” is scheduled to have its first reading before the City Council July 22, 2014, at 6:30 pm and then be phased in over the remainder of the year, going into full effect January 1, 2015. 
During the period between ordinance approval and implementation, the City of Napa will coordinate with local stakeholders and organizations that support the ordinance, including Sustainable Napa County and the Napa Chamber of Commerce, to work with retailers and businesses and help make the community-wide transition to reusable bags easy and seamless.  

Here are a few easy ways to get involved in the public process and help support the ordinance: 
  1. Share this information with your friends and colleagues and ask them to do the same with their networks
  2. Send a letter to the editor to show your support for the single-use bag reduction ordinance. The Frequently Asked Questions document located on the City of Napa website is full of helpful information and background. Letters to the Editor can be sent via:  
  3. Send your input and comments to the Napa City Council prior to the meeting on July 22. All Council correspondence can to sent to: Be sure to put "Single-Use Bag Reduction Ordinance" in the subject line.
  4. Attend the City Council meeting on Tuesday, July 22 at 6:30 pm and speak during the public comment period. If public speaking makes you nervous, attend to show your support and be counted.  

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