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Plastic Bag Ban
plastic bag turtleRecognizing the environmental problems that plastic bags can cause, the City prohibits the distribution of single-use plastic shopping bags. 

In 2017, the City amended its Plastic Bag Ban to include a Recycled Paper Bags Cost Pass-Through fee. Stores are required to charge a minimum fee to customers when providing a recycled paper bag. The 10 cent charge on paper bags is not subject to State sales tax and will be retained by stores for use in complying with the ordinance.


Call Malibu City Hall at 310-456-2489 if you have questions about the Plastic Bag Ban. Environmental Programs staff will return your message during weekday business hours.

Frequently Asked Questions
When does the Plastic Bag Ban go into effect?
The law is in effect now. The ordinance's effective date is April 27, 2017.

What businesses does the ordinance apply to in Malibu?
The ordinance applies to any retail establishment, grocery store, restaurant, pharmacy, vendor or non-profit vendor doing business within city limits.

What are the requirements of this ordinance? 
  • No plastic bags may be distributed at the point of sale.
  • No compostable or biodegradable plastic bags may be distributed at the point of sale.
  • Businesses must collect a Recycled Paper Bags Cost Pass-Through fee if providing a paper bag to customers.
  • Businesses must charge a minimum fee of 10 cents per paper bag provided.
  • Businesses are not permitted to rebate or reimburse any part of the fee to customers.
  • Businesses may only use funds collected from the Recycled Paper Bags Cost Pass-Through fee for the purposes stated in P.R.C. § 42283.7.

Is the City of Malibu Plastic Bag Ban ordinance affected by the State Single-Use Bag Ban (SB270)?
Malibu stores must comply with the requirements of the City of Malibu Plastic Bag Ordinance, as the state law does not preempt or take precedence over city or county ordinances adopted prior to September 1, 2014.
How is the City of Malibu Plastic Bag Ban different from the State Single-Use Bag Ban?

  • The City ordinance does not require reusable plastic bags to contain recycled content. The state law, regulated by the state recycling entity CalRecycle, requires reusable bags to be manufactured with recycled content materials.
  • The City ordinance does not allow bioplastic or compostable bags as compliant bags. The state law does.
  • The City ordinance covers all retail stores. The state law does not.
  • The City ordinance covers restaurants and eating establishments. The state law does not.
  • The City ordinance covers vendors (including nonprofit vendors). The state law does not.
  • Violations within city limits are governed by the City's ordinance and enforced by the City Manager. Please keep in mind that Malibu stores must comply with the City ordinance, even where different from the state law.

What is the purpose of the ban?
The purpose of the ban is to reduce plastic debris in our creeks and ocean, protect aquatic life, and lessen the economic impact of litter abatement. Plastic bags, bio-based (such as corn or polylactic acid), biodegradable, and compostable plastic bags cause litter and dispersal concerns, and can harm wildlife.

The Recycled Paper Bags Cost Pass-Through fee is intended to provide a disincentive to customers to use single-use paper bags and to promote the shift to reusable bags.

Do reusable bags have to be certified?
Yes. All reusable grocery bags must be certified as meeting requirements set out in the statute. The requirements vary based upon the kind of material used to make the bags. A reusable grocery bag must:
  • Have a handle and be designed for at least 125 uses;
  • Have a volume capacity of at least 15 liters (about 4 gallons);
  • Be machine washable or capable of being cleaned and disinfected; and
  • Have the manufacturer’s name, country, and a statement that the bag is a reusable bag designed for at least 125 uses printed on the bag or on a tag, as well as recycling instructions if the bag is recyclable.

Who is responsible for enforcement?
Cities, counties, and the State of California enforce the bag ban. The City is committed to conducting education and outreach to businesses to ensure a smooth transition to safer alternatives. Penalties for non-compliance will be issued as a last resort and may result in fines.

City of Malibu