Customers of retail businesses in the unincorporated parts of San Juan County will no longer be able to carry out their purchases in "single use" plastic bags. San Juan County Council unanimously approved an ordinance banning plastic bags at its Tuesday, October 25, 2016 meeting. The new law will take effect May 1, 2017.
Single use is defined as plastic bags less than 2.25 mils thick. Exceptions to the ban are noted below.
Key elements of the ordinance
• Single-use plastic carryout bags are prohibited. This includes all plastic bags less than 2.25 mils thick provided at check out or point of sale to a customer for use to transport or carry away purchases from the retail establishment.
• Large paper bags must be a minimum of 40 percent postconsumer recycled fiber and the fiber content must be marked on the outside.
• Smaller paper bags (8-pound capacity) must be a minimum of 20 percent postconsumer recycled fiber and the fiber content must be marked on the outside.
• Thick plastic bags — 2.25 mil or greater — are deemed reusable and may be provided by retail establishments.
• Plastic bags used by consumers inside stores are still allowed to package bulk items such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, candy, or small hardware items; contain or wrap frozen foods, meat or fish; contain wrapped flowers and plants; unwrapped prepared foods or bakery goods; and contain prescription medication or personal care products.
• Plastic bags used for newspapers, door-hanger bags, laundry-dry cleaning bags, or bags sold in packages intended for use as garbage, pet waste, or yard waste bags are also still allowed.