California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle)

At-Store Recycling Program

Compliance Assistance: Frequently Asked Questions

This page helps to address the frequently asked questions regarding the At-Store Recycling Program and how regulated community, stores and manufacturers, can achieve compliance. If your question is not addressed here please contact the At-Store Recycling Program at (916) 341-6511.

Where can I find a copy of the At-Store Recycling program regulations?

The At-Store Recycling program regulations are found in the California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 14, Division 7, Chapter 4, Article 6.

Who is required to comply:

Any entity in California that meets the definition of a “store” or “manufacturer” is required to comply with the At-Store Recycling Program.

Is the operator name the same as the store name?

The operator name is not always the same as the store name; it is the legal name of the store(s).

"Store" means a retail establishment that provides plastic carryout bags to its customers as a result of the sale of a product and that meets either of the following requirements:

  • A retail establishment that has over 10,000 square feet of retail space that generates sales tax and has a licensed pharmacy.

  • A supermarket that has a full-line, self-service, retail store with gross annual sales of $2 million or more and which sells a line of dry groceries, canned goods, non-food items, or perishable goods.

“Operator” means a person in control of, or having daily responsibility for, the daily operation of a store, as defined in California Code of Regulations. The operator may include, but is not limited to, the owner, lessee, or franchisee. An operator may have control of more than one store.

To assist CalRecycle with program implementation we request that the fictitious business name (doing business as (DBA), trade or common name of the store) be provided as additional information, however this is not required.

What is a designated reporting party?

Designated reporting party or parties” means a person authorized by an operator to maintain and report the records and data required. An operator may have more than one designated reporting party.

Although an operator may use a designated reporting party or parties to submit the information required by this program, the operator is responsible for compliance with the reporting and other requirements of this law and may be subject to penalties for non-compliance due to the action or non-action of its designated reporting party or parties.

What if my company meets the definition of a “store” or “manufacturer” but has not been notified that it needs to comply?

The lack of notification from the State is not a supporting argument to not comply with the mandate. Any operator or store that meets the criteria is required to comply with the At-Store Recycling Program.

Are there any penalties for non-compliance?

The law does provide a tiered penalty. A city, county, or the State may seek civil penalties in the amount of five hundred dollars ($500) for the first violation of the statute, one thousand dollars ($1,000) for the second violation, and two thousand dollars ($2,000) for the third and subsequent violation for those stores and/or operators who do not comply with the statute.

Do you have a report I can use to submit my store’s information?

To assist operators or designated reporting parties with the reporting requirements, a model report and a series of model data sheets have been developed. The model report and data sheets are designed to streamline the process and ensure that all of the pertinent information is provided to the State by the annual April 1 final filing date.

What information is required to be submitted to the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle)?

Each operator or its designated reporting party shall report the following information, which represents the previous calendar year (January 1- December 31), annually by April 1.

  1. The full and complete name of the operator.
  2. The name of the store(s), if different from the name of the operator.
  3. The mailing address of the operator.
  4. The contact person’s name and telephone number for the operator.
  5. A list of all stores for which the annual report is being submitted. The listing shall include each store name or number and the street address.
  6. The full and complete name of the designated reporting party, if applicable.
  7. The mailing address of the designated reporting party, if applicable.
  8. The contact person’s name and telephone number for the designated reporting party, if applicable.
  9. The weight of all plastic carryout bags purchased by the operator, and the weight of all plastic carryout bags shipped or delivered to each individual store.
  10. The name(s) and address(es) of the recycler(s) utilized by the operator or designated reporting party.
  11. The addresses of stores, distribution centers, warehouses or other locations where reported plastic carryout bags were received prior to distribution and use by customers and where collected recycled plastic carryout bags were transferred or provided to a recycler for recycling.
  12. The weight of plastic carryout bags collected and recycled or sent for recycling by the operator or designated reporting party. This may be reported by either a direct weight method or a total plastic film weight method.
    • Direct Weight Method: An operator or designated reporting party shall report the actual weight of the plastic carryout bags that were recycled separate from all other plastic film material.
    • Total Plastic Film Weight Method: An operator or designated reporting party shall report the total weight of all plastic film material, including plastic carryout bags, recycled.
  13. The operator or its designated reporting party shall verify that the information was submitted under penalty of perjury.
  14. Although an operator may use a designated reporting party to submit the information required in this section, the operator is responsible for compliance with the reporting and other requirements of this law and may be subject to penalties for non-compliance due to the action or non-action of its designated reporting party.

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