FAQ for plastic-bag ban in Mammoth

Town of Mammoth Lakes press release

Plastic-Bag Ban FAQs

1. What is the Plastic Bag Ban? The Plastic Bag Ban prohibits the use of “single-use plastic carryout bags” as of March 1, 2016. A single-use carryout bag is a bag with handles, other than a reusable bag, provided at the check stand, cash register, point of sale, or other point of departure within a store, for the purpose of transporting food or merchandise out of the establishment.

plastic bag

2. What is the purpose behind the Plastic Bag Ban? Eliminating the use of plastic bags will reduce negative impacts on the environment, including reducing the use of natural resources and energy; reducing greenhouse gas emissions; and helping to eliminate waste in landfills, roadside litter, and pollution to lakes, streams, and soils. Most importantly it will contribute to a cleaner and more welcoming Town of Mammoth Lakes.

3. What kinds of bags are allowed? Customers are encouraged to bring reusable bags to all retail establishments in Mammoth Lakes. Reusable bags are defined as any bag with handles made of cloth or machine washable fabric, or a durable plastic bag with handles that is at least 2.25 mil thick and is specifically designed and manufactured for multiple reuse. Paper bags containing a minimum of 40% post-consumer recycled content are also permitted. Businesses may sell reusable bags and paper bags to their customers. Additionally, businesses may provide a reusable bag at no charge if it is distributed as part of an infrequent and limited time promotion.

4. Why do I have to pay for paper or reusable bags? The minimum fee of 10¢ is in place to help businesses pay for the additional cost of recycled content paper bags or reusable bags (as compared to plastic bags) as well as to encourage customers to bring their own bags in order to avoid paying the fee.

5. I’m a business owner. Am I required to charge a minimum of 10¢ for paper bags? Yes, the ordinance does require all business owners to charge this fee. Town of Mammoth Lakes P.O. Box 1609, Mammoth Lakes, CA, 93546 (760) 934-8989 www.townofmammothlakes.ca.gov

6. Are there any exemptions? Yes, restaurants, take-out food establishments, and any business that receives 90% or more of its revenue from the sale of prepared food to be eaten on or off its premises are exempt from complying with the Plastic Bag Ban. Additionally, bags used for items such as produce, meat, small hardware items, or bulk food and dry cleaning bags are permitted.

7. I’m a business owner. Am I required to keep any records regarding sales of bags? Yes, the ordinance requires all businesses to keep records of the sale of any paper bag for a minimum of three years.

8. Is the Plastic Bag Ban a local or a state mandate? The Plastic Bag Ban was adopted by local Ordinance 15-06. In September 2014, California passed a statewide bag ban. However, there was opposition to the ban and a referendum will be on the ballot in November 2016 for voters to choose whether or not to repeal the statewide ban. If the statewide plastic bag ban is not repealed as part of that referendum, the statewide plastic bag ban will supersede the local ordinance. If the statewide bag ban is repealed, the local ordinance will remain in place.

9. I still have more questions! Please contact Pam Kobylarz, Assistant to the Town Manager, at (760) 934-8989 x223 or pkobylarz@townofmammothlakes.ca.gov.


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6 Responses to FAQ for plastic-bag ban in Mammoth

  1. tourbillon March 22, 2016 at 2:42 pm #

    “Eliminating the use of plastic bags will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

    Really? A boast that big is usually reserved for propaganda.

    In this case, whatever greenhouse gases might be “reduced” by forcing people to re-use bags that will gradually become encrusted with all kinds of amusing microbes will likely be offset by the increased flatulence of people suffering from stomach disorders.

    Hence the exemptions, suggesting that eliminating plastic bags is not so critical to saving the planet. It appears from the press release that restaurants are exempt as well as supermarkets, since plastic bags can still be provided for produce, meat, small hardware items, and bulk food – basically, the majority of stuff sold by Vons and the Do-It Center, two of the three largest retailers in town. I conclude that saving the planet is nice, but not, on the basis of all these exemptions, all that big of a deal. Kind of like optional church on Sundays.

  2. Garbage Man March 23, 2016 at 5:51 pm #

    The ban on “single use” plastic bags doesn’t take into account the fact these bags, at least in my household, are also used (a second time) for garbage, transporting the packaging we are unable to avoid back out of the house and to the landfill. Now I’ll have to BUY other plastic bags for garbage, What a bunch of garbage!

    • Go Green March 25, 2016 at 1:15 pm #

      The point is NOT to have plastic bags end up in the landfill. You should be buying trash bags. Biodegradable ones!

  3. Steve P. March 25, 2016 at 8:49 am #

    Banning bags … like every “climate change” effort to control us … attempts to solve a problem that does … not … exist. Read the article below … then discuss.


  4. donna m. willey March 25, 2016 at 2:03 pm #

    Yes, Mammoth Lakes is drinking the KoolAid. You have made it very difficult for the older women who do the shopping and now have to try and Lug bags of indeterminate material up stairs to their kitchens, since many homes have the kitchen on the top floor. Another stupid fact of life in uptight and overflowing Mammoth. Furthermore, charging 0.10 cents for a much heavier plastic bag seems to defeat the purpose of getting rid of the thin and easily degradable plastic bags we used to have. I think I will spend all my pennies on these heavy plastic bags for groceries and see how the landfill does with them. A further complaint is the grocery clerks try to fit all purchases into one of these thickened plastic bags thus crushing produce like bananas, lettuce, grapes etc. Maybe I should just gas up and drive to Bishop where they kept their plastic bags thus causing unwanted energy abuse in the form of over-use of my gas allotment. You people are brilliant. You are always shafting the locals in this idiotic poorly run town! Hmm do I sound angry, I am! Get in your safe space and call the thought police!


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