Pleasanton council weighs expansion of plastic bag ban

Council could opt out of ban by Dec. 9 before county measure takes effect

The Alameda County Waste Management Authority (StopWaste) has asked the Pleasanton City Council to support its planned expansion of the ban on plastic bags to include all retail stores and restaurants.

Since its reusable bag ordinance went into effect in January 2013, the affected 1,300 grocery, drug and liquor stores in the county have charged a minimum of 10 cents for a reusable or paper bag to customers who forget their own.

Since then, the reusable bag ordinance has had dramatic results:

* Overall bag purchases by customers at those 1,300 stores have declined by 85%.

* The number of shoppers bringing a reusable bag to the store, or not using a bag at all, has more than doubled.

* There has been a 44% decrease in plastic bags found in county storm drains.

* Stores are participating with a compliance rate of 90%.

Now, StopWaste wants to expand the reusable bag ordinance to include all retail stores and restaurants, adding 14,000 total stores and restaurants to the ordinance.

The expanded ban would apply to commercial establishments that sell perishable or nonperishable goods directly to customers, including clothing, food and personal items. The intent is to capture all types of retail stores, any place where a shopper can walk into a "brick and mortar" store and purchase a tangible item.

Also included would be restaurants, take-out food establishments or other businesses that receive 90% or more of its revenue from the sale of prepared and ready-to-consume foods and/or drinks to the public. This includes food trucks and vendors who distribute food in bags. Farmers market vendors and those packaging goods in bags without handles would be exempted.

The new, expanded StopWaste ordinance is expected to be approved in October and would take effect for retail stores next May and for restaurants in November 2017.

Cities such as Pleasanton that adopted StopWaste's initial plastic bag ban will be automatically part of the broader ban unless they opt out by a resolution of their city councils by Dec. 9.

Pleasanton city staff is studying the pros and cons the proposed new ruling would have on stores in Stoneridge Shopping Center, downtown, dress stores and dry cleaners that rely on plastic covers for freshness and cleanliness.

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12 people like this
Posted by Fulton Banton
a resident of Oak Hill
on Aug 14, 2016 at 3:55 pm

Stop these bag bans. All they do is make you buy your own bag. Nothing goes to pick up litter. No one takes into account people now buying thicker true one use bags for waste cans, dog pooh and other things the free bag was used for. There is still litter. Stores just can now sell you a thicker plastic bag or you can bring a reusable. Reusables have their own set of problems. Most people forget them, don't wash them, and don't use them enough to offset the carbon footprint of plastic used once. Do we now have to bring tupperware for our doggie bags? What if you are from out of town? Plastic is sanitary, reusable and 100 percent recyclable. This is just done to make more money from the consumer. Vote no on prop 67.

8 people like this
Posted by Jill
a resident of Del Prado
on Aug 14, 2016 at 5:37 pm

I hate this plastic bag law. Bringing your own bag is a pain.
I'd rather pay the 10 cents!

9 people like this
Posted by local
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Aug 14, 2016 at 5:47 pm

When I go shopping at the mall or other shopping areas, I don't know how much I plan to buy. This is not like grocery shopping. I believe this ordinance will negatively affect the stores at the mall and ultimately our sales tax revenue.

For restaurants, we are buying prepared food. Putting the prepared food in an old bag is going to contribute to problems with food safety. The only ones who will benefit are the lawyers for the additional lawsuits for people getting sick. Come on, food trucks? I go outside to order some food to bring back to work and have to keep a bag at my office to take to the truck? That is not going to work.

16 people like this
Posted by Fed up
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 14, 2016 at 7:22 pm

Pleasanton City Council; please tell the County to "shove it".

19 people like this
Posted by sammy
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Aug 14, 2016 at 8:07 pm

I support the existing bag ban. Bringing a reusable bag to Safeway is not a big deal and I get plenty of bags from Home Depot and Lowe's to clean up after the dogs. I have definitely noticed a decrease in the litter along the roadways since the ban was put in place.

This proposed expansion however goes too far. Its not broke, so don't fix it.

8 people like this
Posted by Mary
a resident of Amador Estates
on Aug 15, 2016 at 9:21 am

I agree with the previous comment. We are complying successfully. To add more retail and stores is going too far.
Who is the recipient of the 10 cents a bag?
I believe it should be going to a charity in need.BS

10 people like this
Posted by Charlie Brown
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Aug 15, 2016 at 9:29 am

Why don't we just ban garbage, we ban a lot of other things, smoking, guns, bicycles, loud noises, and honest political discussions, classified emails?

8 people like this
Posted by fred
a resident of Carriage Gardens
on Aug 15, 2016 at 9:49 am

Here is just another example of people in government attempting to make its presence known by aggravating its citizens.

7 people like this
Posted by Anna
a resident of Happy Valley
on Aug 15, 2016 at 10:38 am

Plastic bags are bad for the environment. Using paper instead is not a big deal. Most stores at the mall are already using paper bags. Many restaurants are already using paper bags, too.

Like this comment
Posted by Henry
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Aug 15, 2016 at 11:02 am

I see many people bagging fresh produce into the what appear to be plastic bags in grocery stores. I'm assuming no environmentally conscious person would do such a horrid thing. Stick to the prepackaged frozen foods. Oh, they're usually packaged in plastic also.

Or, just take a sufficient number of plastic produce bags and bag your food in them at the checkout. Save the ten cents.

4 people like this
Posted by Roger Smith
a resident of Birdland
on Aug 15, 2016 at 11:34 am

The ban for all the stores is going too far. They should mandate that the stores should supply paper or reusable bags at no cost . It is so much hassle to be always stressed about bags. I agree with the earlier comment that when you go shopping to a store you do not know how much you are going to buy.

5 people like this
Posted by Long Time Local
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 15, 2016 at 12:46 pm

Walmart neighborhood store on Santa Rita Road uses a heavier type of plastic bag that can be reused, recyclable, sustainable. I was surprised a while back when first seeing it used and found it interesting that they are able to do that. They are definitely more sturdy than those used in grocery stores prior to the ban.

Like this comment
Posted by No More!
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 15, 2016 at 9:44 pm

Dear City Council- Please do not support this latest County initiative! The current law is already reatrictive enough.

If the statistics are to be believed, these reductions are already significant. We dont need another deeper round of restrictions placed upon us!

Please focus your efforts on more worthwhile programs such as crime reduction, traffic mitigation and reinstating the housing cap.

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

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