City Adopts Regulations on Shopping Bags and EPS Foam Food Ware

Single-Use Bag and Food Ware Ordinances, Effective January 1, 2014
The City Council adopted two ordinances in an effort to reduce litter and promote environmental sustainability.  The two ordinances are the known as the Single-Use Bag Ordinance and the Food Ware Ordinance.  El Cerrito joins over 79 cities and counties in California that have already adopted single-use bag ordinances, and the City of Richmond already enforces a similar food ware ordinance.

Single use bags and foam food ware contribute to pollution on streets, and in gutters, storm drains, creeks, and the bay. Even when properly disposed of, plastic bags and foam food ware are challenging to remove from the environment. Because they are so light, the wind easily blows them out of waste containers, autos, and solid waste handling operations. 
Retailers and food providers with questions can contact the El Cerrito Operations + Environmental Services Division at 215-4350.  The full text of both ordinances are available online; visit the El Cerrito Municipal Code pages.

Single-Use Bags
The Single-Use Bag Ordinance (ECMC-2013-03) is intended to reduce the common use of single-use carry out bags and encourage the use of reusable bags by consumers and retailers in El Cerrito.

Effective January 1, 2014, retailers in El Cerrito are prohibited from distributing single-use plastic bags at the point of sale. This affects retail establishments, including grocery stores, department stores, clothing stores, liquor stores, book stores, specialty stores, drug stores, and convenience stores, etc.  Restaurants, take-out food establishments, and non-profit charitable re-users are exempt from the Ordinance.  Please use ECMC-2013-03 to read the complete Single-Use Bag Ordinance. Effective January 1, 2016 retailers now must charge a minimum of $0.10 per paper or reusable bag sold.

EPS Foam Food Ware
The Food Ware Ordinance (ECMC-2013-04) is intended to eliminate the use of expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam food ware and to encourage the use of compostable, recyclable or reusable food ware by food providers and customers in El Cerrito. Effective January 1, 2014, food providers in El Cerrito are prohibited from providing prepared food in EPS foam food ware.  Please use ECMC-2013-04 to read the complete Food Ware Ordinance..

Download and Print Outreach Postcards
Share these informational postcards on the Single-Use Bag Ordinance and Food Ware Ordinance with your customers and community.  Click on the links below to download, print and share the postcards, or contact the Operations + Environmental Services Division at or 510-215-4350 for free resources (affected businesses only).

Single-Use Bag Postcard (English)
Single-Use Bag Postcard (Spanish)
Food-Ware Postcard (English and Spanish)
List of Sustainable Suppliers