Walnut Creek OKs plastic bag ban although most markets in county don't

Joins Pleasanton, other Tri-Valley cities in requiring shoppers to pay for paper bags

Walnut Creek will be one of the next Bay Area cities to say goodbye to plastic bags, joining Pleasanton and other Tri-Valley cities which also ban the bags.

The City Council there voted 4-1 Tuesday to ban single-use carryout plastic bags at all retail stores and restaurants. Customers will instead have the option of paying 10 to 25 cents for a paper bag or bringing their own reusable bags to shop.

Walnut Creek follows more than 90 cities and counties statewide that have implemented a plastic bag ban, including all of Alameda County, which has a countywide ban.

Contra Costa County does not ban plastic bags although other cities, including Richmond and El Cerrito imposed bans ahed of Walnut Creek.

The ban will take effect for all stores in September and for all restaurants citywide in December.

City leaders first considered the idea of a plastic bag ban in 2010 and in October the City Council called on city staff to draft an ordinance prohibiting retailers from distributing plastic bags.

The idea was initially discussed after it was learned that plastic bags were a leading source of pollution in the city's streets and creek beds.

Retailers who do not comply with the ordinance may be fined $100 for a first violation, $200 for a second violation and $500 for a third and all following violations.

A few people voiced their opposition to the ban on Tuesday night, saying it will unduly burden residents.

But Rinta Perkins, who manages the city's Clean Water Program, said Tuesday that the "challenges are outweighed by the benefits of reducing litter and cleanup costs paid by taxpayers, preserving wildlife and protecting human health."

She also cited a survey among San Jose business owners and residents showing that 98 percent of that city's retailers have complied with the plastic bag ban enacted in 2012 and that the law drastically reduced plastic bag litter citywide.

Bay City News contributed to this story.


Like this comment
Posted by Ajay Dhillon
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Mar 7, 2014 at 10:10 am

It is good that cities and counties are banning plastic bags but they should also mandate that grocery stores should use re recyclable or bio-degradable bags.At present they have shifted the onus on the consumers to always carry re usable bags or pay for paper bags which is not fair.many countries in the world use those type of bags.

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Posted by Citizen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 7, 2014 at 10:44 am

LOL It was necessary to switch to plastic when the environmentalists said we need to save the forests. Now we need to switch back to paper to save the three toed frog. Net, net - The grocery business is very competitive and they could not just start charging for bags. They had to find a reason with a little help.

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Posted by Follow the Money
a resident of another community
on Mar 7, 2014 at 11:18 am

Bag fees go to the stores. The do nothing to support or encourage recycling. Using a used plastic grocery bag to pick up dog poo or line a trash can is recycling but now we have to buy those bags also. What a crock. I agree with Citizen, grocer stores found a way to charge for bags and increase revenue.

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Posted by Guest
a resident of another community
on Mar 7, 2014 at 12:13 pm

Why doesn't this article mention that the one city council member that voted no is also going to try and stop this ban? There is more than one side to a story PW!

Like this comment
Posted by Terry Byrnes
a resident of another community
on Mar 7, 2014 at 6:54 pm

So glad it passed!
Walnut Creek resident

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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