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Operation Zero Waste

New Year, New Rules

As of January 2023, the City Of Berkeley has implemented a ban on pre-checkout produce bags - the plastic film bags you find in our produce and bulk areas will be phased out of use. Further, the State Of California has also passed a new ordinance that will take effect in January of 2025 where plastic film bags will be banned throughout the state. The local initiative is part of the City Of Berkeley's goal to become a zero-waste city, and we here at Berkeley Bowl fully support the efforts!

What This Means

For our customers, this means that we will be phasing out the plastic bags you see around the store. In their place, customers will find compostable bags, reusable bags, and other reusable containers for use or purchase. As always we also welcome your own reusable containers like cloth produce bags, jars, and recycled containers for bulk items.


For our stores, this means we will no longer offer plastic film bags for use within the store in areas like produce and bulk. We will be moving to compostable film bags that are approved by our local waste management facility, and we will have reusable bags and containers available for sale.


We offer a variety of reusable options like silicone and cloth bags, glass and metal jars, and containers, and we are constantly researching to provide a variety of options for our customers.

The implementation period for the new ordinance began on January 1, 2023. The next major milestone for us will be June 30, 2023, when we will be in full compliance, then January 2025 will be the final milestone where the entire state will be subject to the new ordinances. 

Top Takeaways

  1. Plastic film bags are going away!

  2. Compostable bags will be the primary option.

  3. Reusable containers are strongly encouraged!

  4. Pre-packaged items will be exempt - so items packaged by the manufacturer or pre-packed in our stores may still be sold in plastic bags.

  5. Meat & Seafood will still have plastic film bags available for products from that department at customer request though we will be migrating to compostable bags there as well.

  6. We will be charging for pre-checkout PLASTIC bags effective June of 2023 - $.25 per bag (there is no charge for compostable bags)

  7. California’s ordinance becomes effective in January 2025.

  8. Questions are welcome and encouraged!


Q: Will we be able to get plastic bags anywhere in the store?

A: Compostable bags will be available in place of plastic bags for customers. However, if PLASTIC film bags are required, they will be available for purchase at a rate of $.25 per bag. There is no charge for compostable bags.

Q: What do we use if there are no plastic bags?

A: We will provide compostable bags, but we strongly encourage customers to bring their own containers and reusable bags with them to shop, and we will have reusable bags and containers available for sale throughout the store.


Q: What about customers using EBT and other assistance programs?

A: Similar to current policies, customers using EBT will not be charged for bags.

At Berkeley Bowl, we want to make sure our customers are familiar with the new ordinances and understand how they will impact your shopping visits to our store. The complete text of the new ordinance is available here for anyone wishing to read all that it entails. 

As always if there are questions we can answer for you, please don't hesitate to email us at

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