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On July 10, 2014, the City of Palm Desert adopted an ordinance that will prohibit the distribution of single-use plastic bags at grocery stores, retailer stores, pharmacies, liquor stores, gas stations, and convenience stores.

All full-line grocery and retail stores with gross annual sales of $2 million, or that are larger than 10,000 square feet, are prohibited from providing customers with single-use plastic carryout bags beginning on April 1, 2015. All other full-line grocery and retail stores are prohibited from providing customers with single-use plastic carryout (shopping) bags beginning on October 1, 2015.

All grocery stores will provide recyclable paper bags for 10 cents per bag. The 10 cent charge, which will be collected by and retained by the store operator, is required for two reasons. First, the 10-cent charge off-sets the store operator’s cost of providing paper bags, which are more expensive than single use plastic bags. Second, the charge encourages the use of reusable bags and will reduce the amount of waste generated in Palm Desert.

The use of reusable bags is encouraged because they conserve resources and landfill space, reduce air and water pollution, save money in cleanup, and reduce litter that harms our wildlife. According to Nick Sterling, research director at Natural Capitalism Solutions, "If used once per week, four or five reusable bags will replace 520 plastic bags a year".

Single-use plastic bags have an adverse impact on animal life and the beauty of our desert. They adversely affect tourism and pose a threat to human health and safety.

Plastic bags were first introduced in the early 1970s and by the mid-1980s they became the most common way to carry groceries. On average, each person uses a single-use plastic bag for approximately 12 minutes and uses approximately 500 plastic bags per year. Based on our current population, about 22,000,000 single-use carryout plastic bags are distributed by grocery and retail establishments in Palm Desert each year. Currently, only five percent of those bags are being recycled or reused.

This page is dedicated to providing educational resources related to plastic bags and reusable bags. For more information, please call 760-346-0611, ext. 664.

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