SCWMA schedules Bag Fairs in county
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By Dave Williams  May 9, 2014 12:00 am

Retail and grocery store owners as well as managers have a chance to learn more about how to transition away from single-use carryout bags to either paper or reusable bags at Bag Fairs from May 13-15.

Bag Fairs, hosted by the Sonoma County Waste Management Agency, will allow business owners to meet manufacturers and distributors of ordinance-compliant checkout bags.

The Sonoma County Waste Management Agency Ordinance No. 2014-2 Establishing a Waste Reduction Program for Carryout Bags, legally went into effect on March 21, 2014 and applies to all commercial establishments that sell perishable or nonperishable goods including, but not limited to clothing, food, and personal items directly to the customer. Retail establishments do not include public eating establishments (standalone restaurants, delis, takeout establishments, etc.) or nonprofit charitable re-users. Stores are encouraged to expend their remaining stock of plastic carryout bags by Sept. 1, 2014 when ordinance enforcement begins.

“The Agency wants to assist grocery stores and retailers in the transition away from single-use carryout bags,” said Henry Mikus, Executive Director of the Sonoma County Waste Management Agency. 

These Bag Fairs, located around Sonoma County will focus on showing examples of compliant recycled paper and reusable checkout bags that can be ordered from local distributors or directly from manufacturers. Agency staff, including bi-lingual staff, will also be present at the events to answer any questions and to provide free resources such as store placards and bilingual posters.

As defined in the ordinance, paper checkout bags are ones that contains no old growth fiber and a minimum of 40 percent post-consumer recycled material; are 100 percent recyclable; and have printed in a highly visible manner on the outside of the bags the words “reusable” and “recyclable,” the name and location of the manufacturer, and the percentage of post-consumer recycled content. Reusable checkout bags are either a bag made of cloth or other machine washable fabric that has handles, or a durable plastic bag with handles that is at least 2.25 mil thick designed and manufactured to withstand repeated uses over a period of time made from a material that can be cleaned and disinfected, shall not contain lead, cadmium, or any other heavy metal in toxic amounts.

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