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Reusable Bag Ordinance

Bag Art 

Congratulations to the winners of the A Cleaner Cupertino Student Art Contest! 

 Indira Abhyanker, age 9, from Eaton Elementary School
Dhriti Molukolta, age 9, from Collins Elementary School
Shanlea Tabofunda, age 10, from Faria Elementary School
Isha Venkatesh, age 10, from Collins Elementary School
Emilie Yu, age 14, from Monta Vista High School
Varsha Rajesh, age 15, from Cupertino High School

View all contest entries here!

The City was very impressed with the creativity and thoughtfulness of more than one hundred students that offered their time and talents to produce incredible environmental art for our contest. Cupertino students were invited to create artwork addressing the fate of the waste we produce, changes we can make to reduce it, and connecting waste to issues like water quality. Winning pieces will be used to create reusable shopping bags to encourage our community to reduce waste and reach for their reusable bags when shopping at our local stores.

The Cupertino Chamber of Commerce and the Fine Arts Commission chose six winners, two each from grades K-4, 5-8, and 9-12. Entries were considered for how they best represented contest themes and how well the designs would be produced on reusable bags. These unique-to-Cupertino reusable bags will be available for purchase shortly.

Congratulations to our winning artists! Your message for “A Cleaner Cupertino” will be seen all around town.

Thank you to all who participated and shared your ideas on ways keep our community clean. View all contest entries by clicking on the link above.

Reusable contest bags now available at these participating stores:

  • 99 Ranch Market - 10425 S. De Anza Blvd.
  • Imahara Produce Market - 19725 Stevens Creek Blvd.
  • Whole Foods Market - 20955 Stevens Creek Blvd.

Reusable Bag Ordinance, At a Glance

The City of Cupertino adopted a bag ordinance to comply with the State’s regional San Francisco Bay anti-litter and water protection mandates. This ordinance prohibits the distribution of thin plastic carry out bags.

Why do we need this? Educating the public about the litter problem over the last 10 years and hosting volunteer creek cleanups has not achieved the goal of reducing plastic shopping bag litter in our creeks, bay and ocean.

When will it happen? The ordinance went into effect on October 1st, 2013. Stores in Cupertino are now required to charge $0.10 for a recycled paper bag. Stores can no longer give out free thin plastic shopping bags.

How can I avoid the bag fee? Shoppers may use their own reusable bags and avoid paying the $0.10 per bag charge.

What if I have more questions? Please contact City of Cupertino staff directly if you have any questions or concerns about the new City code. Email or call (408) 777-3354.

Free reusable bags for Cupertino residents are available at Cupertino City Hall. One per resident and while supplies last.

Reusable Bag Ordinance Adopted March 5, 2013

Reusable Bag Ordinance March 5, 2013 Staff Report

Regional Effort

Cupertino was one of twenty-four participants in the San Mateo County Health Department's Environmental Impact Review (EIR) for a regional Reusable Bag Ordinance. San Mateo's regional ordinance was drafted to heighten customer use of reusable bags in a broad geographical area.

On October 23, 2012, San Mateo County Board of Supervisors certified the EIR and on November 6, 2012, they unanimously adopted the ordinance.

Note: A hardcopy of the Reusable Bag Ordinance Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) and Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is available for viewing at the Cupertino Public Library.

County of San Mateo Health System Website

County of San Mateo Reusable Bag Final EIR

County of San Mateo Reusable Bag Ordinance


  • Customers paying with WIC, CalFresh, or other food stamp cards are exempt from the  ordinance requirements.
  • Dry cleaners.
  • Any public eating establishment that generates 90% or more of their revenue from prepared food (e.g. restaurants).
  • Nonprofit charitable reusers (e.g. Goodwill).
  • Protective bags, without handles, used to segregate and transport items to the checkout stand, such as meat, produce, greeting cards, wine bottles, live fish, or bulk items(e.g. dried fruit, bolts and nails).

Resident Resources

City staff are available to assist residents in acquiring the habit of remembering to bring a reusable bag when shopping. FREE reusable bags and removable car window decals are available now, while supplies last, for Cupertino residents at City Hall, 10300 Torre Avenue.

Reuse and Recycle All of Your Shopping Bags

  • Plastic bags can be reused and recycled.
  • Clean plastic bags, such as restaurant carryout bags, newspaper bags, dry cleaning bags, produce bags, and toilet paper and paper towel packaging can be recycled by placing them in a Cupertino curbside recycling bin. Plastic bags, film or wrapping can also be recycled at many grocery stores, for specific locations visit  
  • Paper bags can be reused and then recycled in a curbside recycling bin.

 Reusable Bag Tips

  • To successfully eliminate disposable, thin shopping bags, customers will need more than one reusable bag. Cupertino is distributing FREE reusable bags to its residents at City Hall (one per resident while supplies last). Many local stores sell a variety of inexpensive reusable bags.
  • For health and safety reasons, please treat cloth bags the same as your clothing and wash them regularly.
  • Wipe bags that are not washable in a machine routinely with a sponge & mild soap to keep clean.
  • Bag raw food (e.g. meat, lettuce) and other foods separately to avoid contamination.
  • Keep enough reusable bags with you to avoid paying for paper bags at store checkout.
  • Do not use reusable grocery bags for other purposes, such as carrying books, laundry or dirty gym clothes.
  • Keep bags by the front door, in the car, laundry room, purse, backpack, at work, or any area that will prompt you to remember to take them with you to the store. 

Resident Frequently Asked Questions

Resident Presentation 7-3-13

Retailer Resources

Stores were encouraged to use up their remaining supply of disposable, thin plastic carryout bags by the City ordinance effective date of October 1, 2013.

A Retailer Toolkit was prepared by City Staff to assist retailers meet all ordinance requirements, and was distributed to stores prior to the effective date of the ordinance. To request additional Retailer Toolkit materials, call (408) 777-3354 or email

For questions about compliance, email or call (408) 777-3354.

Cupertino Chamber of Commerce: for additional retailer information.

No Sales Tax on Paper Bag Charge

Local Jurisdictions with Adopted Bag Ordinances

City of Mountain View, City of Palo Alto, City of San Jose, City of Sunnyvale, County of Santa Clara

Other Bay Area Jurisdictions that have Taken Action

County of Alameda, City of Capitola, City of Fremont, County of Marin, City of Menlo Park, City of Millbrae, City of Monterey, City of Pacifica, City of San Bruno, City and County of San Francisco, City and County of Santa Cruz, City of South San Francisco

Additional Links

For additional information or questions, contact Environmental Programs staff at (408) 777-3354 or













Last updated: 8/24/2016 4:12:03 PM