Carmel-by-the Sea and the larger Carmel area nearby is renowned for its interesting shopping. This is mainly due to the diligence of the City to prevent the incursion of fast food stores, chains (except the high end ones in the Carmel Plaza), and other "touristy" shops. Therefore, the City contains a mix of unique boutiques, restaurants and café's, art galleries, and wine tasting rooms.
Shopping Bags and Containers
In both Monterey County and Carmel-by-the-Sea, thin film single use plastic bags are banned since people do not recycle them and they end up polluting the storm drains, waterways, and ocean, and choking or strangling wildlife. Certain exceptions are for merchants selling meats and bulk produce, etc. Depending on where you shop, stores are required to charge a fee if you take a paper or other shopping bag from a merchant.
The bottom line (and intent of the laws) is to encourage all of us to use cloth and other reusable shopping bags. Most of us here have one large bag in our car filled with smaller reusable bags. Use these for all shopping—clothes, housewares, farmer’s markets, pet supplies, etc. If you forget to take these bags with you into the grocery store, just put your items in the shopping cart and take them to your car.
It has also become a practice here to use various reusable containers for take-out food. You can visit Eco Carmel on San Carlos Ave in Carmel for reusable washable take out containers (such as stainless steel stacked bento boxes) that local restaurants and deli counters accept and welcome.
Our local benefit shops tend to cluster near the Barnyard Shopping Village on Carmel Rancho Lane. They accept household items, clothing, furniture, art, etc and use the proceeds from the sale of these donated items to support a local charity. Some of these shops are: