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.