http://pleasantonweekly.com/print/story/print/2012/02/24/paper-or-plastic-neither-after-next-jan-1


Pleasanton Weekly

News - February 24, 2012

'Paper or plastic?' Neither after next Jan. 1

Pleasanton joins national campaign to ban free bags at stores

by Jeb Bing

Starting next Jan. 1, shoppers in Pleasanton will have to use their own bags for groceries and other merchandise or pay for ones stores will have to provide.

The City Council on Tuesday night approved by a vote of 5-0 a single-use bag reduction ordinance that is intended to reduce the volume of plastic and paper bags now offered free at stores.

"This will reduce the negative environmental impacts caused by bag litter and landfill disposal," said Steve Bocian, assistant city manager, who recommended that the council adopt the new rule.

The ordinance requires that on Jan. 1, 2013, no Pleasanton retailer can provide plastic or paper bags to customers free of charge, although they can charge customers 10 cents for each bag provided, a fee that will rise to 25 cents on Jan. 1, 2015, Bocian said. Retailers will be able to keep the fees customers pay.

The new law applies to all grocery stores, pharmacies and other retailers, although restaurants, fast food outlets and charitable organizations will be exempt.

"This is really great, something I've been waiting for," said Mayor Jennifer Hosterman. "Everyone I've talked to is excited."

The ruling adopted Tuesday night is part of two environmental protection laws proposed by the Alameda County Waste Management Authority board, also known as Stopwaste.org. The second ordinance, calling for all commercial businesses generating more than four cubic yards of material each week to establish tougher recycling requirements, was turned down by the council.

Bocian, who also made that recommendation, said more time is needed to analyze the impact the mandatory commercial recycling ordinance would have on Pleasanton businesses.

In other action Tuesday night, the council adopted a resolution accepting the agreement reached with the Pleasanton Police Officers' Association to begin contributing 3% of their pay toward their CalPERS retirement program.

The contribution begins March 3 at the start of the next pay period, increases to 6% next July 1, and then to the full 9% contribution starting July 1, 2013.

The new police contract is effective through May 31, 2014.

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