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Many small businesses have already prepared for Arcata's plastic bag ban, which goes into effect on Feb. 1.

Humboldt Outfitters made the switch before Christmas.

”We weren't going to wait until the last minute,” said David Neyra, store owner and Arcata Main Street president.

Neyra said the change to offer a craft paper bag was easy.

”In a small business community like this, we want to give people a superior product anyway,” he said. “It's to our benefit to give people a reusable bag or an eco-friendly bag.”

Under Arcata's ordinance, single-use plastic bags are banned at most retailers, including pharmacies and grocery and convenience food stood stores, in an effort to reduce litter and waste. A paper bag made of at least 40 percent post-consumer recyclable materials will be offered for 10 cents, and the revenue will be kept by the retailer. The fee will be implemented in August to allow time for a reusable bag campaign.

Murphy's Market stopped offering plastic bags a couple of years ago, Westwood store manager Randy Walker said.

”We did away with plastic bags a couple of years ago knowing it was going to happen,” Walker said. “It's been good.”

Initially a few customers complained, he added, but most people bring their own bags.

Pacific Outfitters is in the process of making reusable totes with the store's name on it, and Safeway is training staff and posting signs to alert customers.

”We anticipate that the change will go smoothly, as employees are versed on the new rules,” wrote Keith Turner, Director of Public and Government Affairs for the Safeway Inc. Northern California Division. “There are dozens of cities and counties with various versions of a bag ban. We see these are very positive. We are certainly concerned about protecting our environment and reducing the number of single-use plastic bags in the waste stream.”

The business also will have an in-store promotion of reusable bags in February.

According to city staff, 7 million single-use bags are estimated to be eliminated under the ordinance.

Lorna Rodriguez can be reached at 441-0506 or lrodriguez@times-standard.com. Follow her on Twitter @LornaARodriguez.