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Plastic bag ban now in effect in Pleasanton grocery stores

Original post made on Jan 1, 2013

Pleasanton and other Alameda County grocery stores and retailers selling packaged foods or alcohol are now required to stop giving out single-use bags at checkout.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, January 1, 2013, 7:44 AM

Comments (38)

Posted by Dr. M.
a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Jan 1, 2013 at 9:23 am

If you use cloth bags be sure you wash them in hot water, meat item packages leak.

Posted by Amos
a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Jan 1, 2013 at 10:47 am

Now if our exalted leaders really wanted to get serious about reducing trash, they would put a halt to home delivery of newspapers and dictate that news be available only via the internet.

Posted by Claudette
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2013 at 10:51 am

You can have your meat and fresh produce in the plastic bags that are in those areas (in the store on rolls), this will cut down on the leaks. Double bag and tie it off for double protection.

You can also wipe down your reusable bags with 409 or wipes with disinfectant (the ones that can't be thrown in the wash.


Posted by liberalism is a duh-sease
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2013 at 11:04 am

B-b-but I don't WANNA deal with bringing my own bags! I'm a maker, not a taker, so that means I don't have to put in that kind of work. If you disagree with me, you're really dumb and stupid and I'm really mad and Taxed Enough Already! Waaah!!!!!!

Posted by MarieO
a resident of Verona
on Jan 1, 2013 at 11:07 am

Just curious- why don't folks on WIC and food stamps have to participate? Seems like we all have a responsibility to the environment. I wouldn't expect the government to subsidize the plastic bag cost - but this exemption doesn't make sense.

Posted by Edwardo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2013 at 1:49 pm

A pox on environmental nut jobs. May they get severe food poisoning from their reusable bags. The Golden State is rotting to the core.

Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jan 1, 2013 at 3:35 pm

WIC Program: Web Link


Posted by m
a resident of Amador Estates
on Jan 1, 2013 at 5:09 pm

"A pox on environmental nut jobs." Well, that really helps promote intelligent thought. It seems those that are brainless are the ones that usually come up with these comments.

Plastic bags are a significant problem, and apparently people that cannot see the problem unless it's right in front of them are clueless.

Happy 2013!

Posted by Facts
a resident of another community
on Jan 1, 2013 at 7:53 pm

Plastic grocery bags require 40-70 percent less energy to manufacture than paper bags.
For every seven trucks needed to deliver paper bags, only one truck is needed for the same
number of plastic bags, helping to save energy and reduce emissions.
It takes 91% less energy to recycle a pound of plastic than it takes to recycle a pound of paper.
About 65% of Americans reuse their plastic bags for trash disposal. Other common uses include lunch
bags and pet pick-up. In this regard, the reuse of a plastic shopping bag prevents a second bag from being purchased to
fulfill these necessary functions.
Recycled plastic bags can be made into dozens of useful new products, such as building and construction
products, low-maintenance fencing and decking, and of course, new bags.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 1, 2013 at 8:13 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Facts, If you don't mind, would you please post some links to the data you present? Much appreciated. I did find a site that lists businesses that will take plastic bags in and around Pleasanton for recycling (the list is several pages): Web Link

Posted by Analyst Dude
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 2, 2013 at 3:28 am

Where does the 10 cents that Raley's charges for the formally free paper bags go? IT GOES TO RALEY'S !!!!
The County ordinance allows the store to keep the money, and the store does. No surprise here.
The paper bags cost the store about 5 cents each, so there is about 5 cents pure profit to the store, for each one they sell. The plastic bags cost the store 1-2 cents each; that is why the stores pushed the use of the plastic bags when they were available.

BTW, have you noticed that "nickle aide" line on your receipt? It's the former "5 cent rebate" for reusing your reusable bags. It used to come off your grocery bill as a refund; now it goes to the American Heart Association--with a LIMIT OF $75,000 from all of Raley's CA stores.
Guess Raley's was giving away to many nickles directly to their customers and they thought it in their best interest to not mention the $$ limit on the program.

Posted by libpu$$y
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2013 at 8:15 am

Facts, thanks for posting information regarding the positives of plastics. Nothing like a little inconvenient truth to get in the way of our appointed liberal bureaucrats meddling in our everday lives.

Posted by No more Vegetable scrap recycling
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2013 at 6:23 am

I already stopped recycling vegetable scraps. I can no longer get paper bags for that purpose from my shopping trips, and I will not buy paper bags to recycle them.

Posted by D
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2013 at 8:58 am

@ I can contaminate my bags that I bag my Organic produce with highly toxic 409 ....this whole bag ban is ridiculous unless EVERYONE EVERYWHERE is participating. Another governmental big brother squeeze to remind us of their power.

Less government people...remember that when you go to vote in November and you have no poop bags for your dog.

Posted by Mad
a resident of Old Towne
on Jan 3, 2013 at 11:55 am


One Question; if plastic bags can be recycled as you stated, why don't we (can't we) put them in our recycling disposal containers here in Pleasanton? Instead we are told to put them in the Trash container.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jan 3, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Here is one pamphlet on recycling plastic: Web Link

Points from another site:
* the high volume to weight ratio of plastic means that the collection and transport of this waste is difficult and expensive
* there are often high levels of contamination in plastic making the recyclate less usable, especially where food products are involved
* there is a very wide range of plastics in use and segregation is difficult
* the market for using recycled plastic is underdeveloped

Web Link

Posted by Mom
a resident of Lemoine Ranch
on Jan 3, 2013 at 11:25 pm

I'm not an environmentalist nor do I support the government legislating everything we do. However, since this bag thing is a fact of life, I want to stress the importance of buying WASHABLE bags and recommend that you wash them in hot water very frequently. The others posting similar advice nailed it. I won't be specific, but I had a family member that worked In grocery and shared horror stories of the filth and unsanitary reusable bags handed to them by customers. One word: maggots.

As far as the food stamp recipient exemptions, whatever. It's just like our first lady preaching to us about what to feed our kids while the government spends OUR money on Cheetos, Pepsi, microwaveable pizza, cake and candy by allowing these foods to be purchased with food stamps. What a joke.

Posted by opportunity knocks
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2013 at 8:59 am

"the market for using recycled plastic is underdeveloped"
Sounds like a chance for some smart entrepeneur to create or grow a business that can address the challenges of plastic recycling or reuse. It's a pity more effort isn't put into this obvious type of solution rather than punishing every consumer as though they are all responsible for plastics ending up in the ocean somewhere.

Posted by Jiml
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2013 at 9:12 am

Hey Analyst Dude, where are they getting printed bags for 1 - 2 cents? I currently pay 30 cents per for small plain bags. I looked into printed bags and the lowest I could find is $1.25 per bag. Please tell us the resource and help Pleasanton small businesses save money. If we don't sell food, plastic is still ok.

Posted by China pollutes
a resident of Dublin
on Jan 4, 2013 at 9:56 am

Plastic Bag Myths
Plastic bags are being demonized across the world these days, but most of the statistics given to justify bag bans and taxes are either misleading or just plain wrong. Below are some of the more popular myths about plastic bags, as well as some interesting facts.
Oil Consumption

MYTH: According to many websites and environmental groups, plastic bag manufacturing uses a large percentage of the crude oil that is consumed in the US. Some suggest that eliminating plastic bags would reduce our dependence on oil.

TRUTH: American plastic bags are made from natural gas, NOT oil. In the U.S., 85 percent of the raw material used to make plastic bags is produced from natural gas.

Banning or taxing plastic bags will do nothing to curb oil consumption.

Single Use
MYTH: Most proposed bag bans and taxes use statistics based on an assumption that plastic bags are only used once.

TRUTH: Studies have shown that 80-90% of the population reuse plastic grocery bags at least once. As trash bin liners, for picking up after pets, as lunch sacks, holding wet laundry, etc. Plastic bags are also very easy to recycle, and most grocery stores provide bag recycling bins.

Ireland's Bag Tax
MYTH: Ireland's 2002 tax on plastic grocery bags reduced plastic bag use by 90%.

TRUTH: This is partially true, but doesn't tell the whole story. Use of plastic grocery checkout bags declined, but sales of packaged plastic bags went up by about 400%, resulting in a net gain in plastic bags going to landfills. This shows that most people were reusing their plastic grocery bags for tasks where plastic bags are the best solution - trash can liners, picking up after the dog, wet garbage, etc.

San Francisco Bag Ban
MYTH: In 2008, San Francisco banned plastic bags, which resulted in a huge drop in bag use, and an increase in reusable bags.

TRUTH: Yes, since plastic bags were banned, stores stopped using them. But there was not a huge shift towards reusable bags. Instead, there was a huge increase in paper bag consumption. According to all studies, paper bags are responsible for many times the pollution and oil consumption than plastic bags. Paper is heavier, and not as durable, as plastic and requires far more resources to create, and creates much more air and water pollution. In addition to this, the San Fran Ban also practically eliminated bag recycling programs in the city, and after one year, plastic bag litter (the main reason for the ban) had actually increased.

MYTH: Recycling plastic bags is extremely costly and difficult.

TRUTH: Recycling programs are growing all the time, and plastic recycling is actually a very simple, cost effective and energy efficient process. The main products currently made from recycled grocery bags is composite lumber, and new bags.

Marine Wildlife Tangled in Bags
MYTH: "Over 100 thousand marine animals die from becoming tangled in discarded plastic bags each year."

TRUTH: The report that this myth was based on (a Canadian study from 1987) didn't mention plastic bags at all. In 2002 the Australian Government commissioned a study on plastic bags, and the authors misquoted the 1987 study. What the original study found was that between 1981 and 1984 over 100 thousand marine mammals and birds were killed by being caught in discarded fishing nets and lines.

Furthermore, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has stated that it is unable to find studies to support many of the statements that assert plastic bags cause harm to marine wildlife and that many quotes about plastic marine debris are false, unproven or exaggerated.

MYTH: Plastic bags are a major source of litter, and banning or taxing bags will reduce litter.

TRUTH: Plastic bags make up less than one percent of all litter. Cigarette butts, fast food packaging, and food wrappers are much larger contributors. Banning one item that becomes litter does nothing to change the mindset of those that discard trash improperly. Many of the bags that end up as litter blow off of garbage trucks or out of landfills. Landfill operators and garbage haulers should be held accountable for items that escape containment.

Since plastic bags are responsible for less than 1% of all litter, banning or taxing them will have no impact. The solution to litter is public education, recycling programs, and proper disposal.

MYTH: Landfills are overflowing with plastic bags.

TRUTH: Plastic bags are easily recycled, but even if they do end up in a landfill, they take up a small fraction of one percent of landfill space. The average person uses about 326 plastic grocery bags per year, which by weight is about the same as a phone book or two. By comparison, the average person generates nearly one ton (2000 pounds) of garbage each year.

The major contributor to landfills is paper, wood and construction debris. Banning or taxing plastic bags would mean that more paper bags would get used, resulting in more waste going to the landfill.

Paper Bags are Better
MYTH: Many people believe that paper bags are a better environmental choice than plastic.

TRUTH: Paper bags, even recycled ones, require many times more energy to produce than plastic. Paper production and recycling also produces far more air and water pollution than plastic. And because paper bags weigh nearly 10 times that of plastic bags, they require 10 times the fuel to transport.

Paper bags can also be easily contaminated with oils, grease, and food waste that can contaminate entire batches of recycling. Plastic bags can be cleaned prior to recycling to eliminate contaminants.

Reusable Bags
MYTH: The prevailing environmental opinion is that heavyweight canvas, cotton, and polypropylene reusable bags are the best choice to replace plastic bags.

TRUTH: While these reusable bags are great for some uses, their environmental impact hasn't been properly studied. Most are made in China, where health and pollution standards are somewhat lax, and then shipped halfway across the globe to get to you.

Reusable bags also can't be used for the myriad of things that disposable bags are used for. If disposable bags aren't available at the checkout stand, people will purchase packaged bags for secondary uses such as trash can liners.

Bans and Taxes
MYTH: Taxing grocery bags or banning plastic bags will reduce greenhouse gasses and save the planet.

TRUTH: Since bags are a minimal contributor to all the problems associated with them (oil use, litter, landfill volume, etc.), bans and taxes simply won't do anything for the environment. And because the alternatives all require more fuel to create, recycle, and transport, eliminating plastic bags actually increases greenhouse gasses.

Posted by Tyrone
a resident of Stoneridge
on Jan 4, 2013 at 10:33 am

I work in Pleasanton but live in Tracy. I shop frequently in Pleasanton out of conveniece before I head home. I will no longer do so. I didn't realize this new law and was at Safeway yesterday. I left a grocery cart full of items at the checkstand in protest of this stupid law. I'll just do all my shopping in Tracy going forward. Probably best anyway, so my own community benefits. Enjoy your little fascist county.

Posted by Sandy
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 4, 2013 at 7:28 pm

All of you that are against this plastic bag ban are morons. Seriously.

don't you care about the environment and the planet earth for your future grand kids. Oh wait-hopefully you morons won't reproduce.

Posted by MADSTORK
a resident of Castlewood Heights
on Jan 5, 2013 at 1:12 am

This is perhaps the stupidest law ever. I don't think the grocery stores like it either as it is a huge hassle for them as well.

(Comment partially removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff)

Why not simply encourage people to recycle the plastic bags, have the stores give them credit for returning the bags for recycling as is done with cans and bottles?

Plastic bags were originally used as a concession to the the save a tree nuts. Now we are back to paper which is inferior to plastic in many applications. I had a paper bag rip yesterday; the handle ripped off the bag. Do I get my 10 cents back? ;o)

We should try to get this stupid law repealed. This is what happens when you elect communists to office.

Posted by Chris
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Jan 5, 2013 at 4:46 pm

Just an a small business owner we do get to "keep" the 10 cents. Trust me I am not making a living off of bags. Additionally, please note that we are actually audited and required to show that we have a category for the 10 cents and are collecting it. If we do NOT do this we are subject to $1000 fine per incident. How do you like those apples....please help us by NOT complaining. NO one is thrilled but it is better for the environment and your kids.

Posted by liberalism is a duh-sease
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 5, 2013 at 6:16 pm

Trust you? You sound like a socialist! You're not a small business owner, Donald Trump is! George W. Bush is! Maybe you libs should try cleaning up the environment with your eco-tears. Enjoy the money you're picking from my pocket, Chris!

Posted by madstork
a resident of Avila
on Jan 5, 2013 at 7:37 pm

Whoever edits the comments here is a big time liberal who is interested in suppressing free speech. No point in posting here unless you are going to adhere to PC leftist dogma.

And if you don't agree with me, you are probably a racist. ;o)

Posted by Casanova. Frankensence
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 5, 2013 at 9:43 pm

Since my life as the local troll and part time stalker is failing, my only recourse is to put one of those ten cent bags over my head and end it all. Unfortunately, the paper bags still let some air in, so I'm off to the dry cleaners to use one of their bags. Wish me luck....

Posted by K.J.
a resident of California Reflections
on Jan 5, 2013 at 10:06 pm

All I hear is about freedom of choice for women. The freedom of choice to murder her unborn or not. But I can't have the freedom to choose a plastic bag for my groceries. Liberalism is a mental disorder.

Posted by Sandy The Moron
a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Jan 5, 2013 at 10:12 pm

I'm a moron because I support Liberal Progressives who steal from our grandchildren to pay for free stuff for the Baby Boomers, the most greedy generation in history. Then I turn around accuse others of not "caring" for the grandkids. Web Link

Posted by Linda
a resident of Las Positas
on Jan 5, 2013 at 11:02 pm

It appears that most of the comments and opinions posted are in favor of the ban and think it is good for everyone. It might be in the best interest to everyone that this ban be modified to voluntary. A voluntary ban would allow those who support the ban to pay the 10 cents for the bags. In many households every penny counts and 10 cents per bag per visit could be a hardship on large families who shop frequently and the elderly. The daily grind is difficult enough without having to carry around a half dozen reusable bags every time you go to grocery shop.

The ban states that retailers are “required to stop giving out single-use bags at checkout.” Is there anything to prevent the retailer from providing free bags at the store entrance, next to the sanitary hand wipes, next to the rack of weekly advertisers, or the parking lot with the shopping carts, or at the junk literature stands? Most retailers allow solicitor and beggars to sit or stand outside the entrance and peddle let them give out the free bags.

There is no reason why the retailers cannot absorb the cost and give their customers free bags when requested. This ban has very little to do with the environment it is all about money and greed.

Posted by Slightly irritated environmentalist
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 5, 2013 at 11:07 pm

I'm of two minds on this issue.
On the pro-ban side:
Plastic and paper bags are not "free"; they're subsidized. People think nothing of paying for the larger garbage bags to line trash cans, after all. Honestly, folks, how many of you would have even considered reusable bags if you didn't have to pay for the alternative? Encouraging pro-environmental behavior has been shown to be most effective at the local level, and like it or not, the law's here to stay for now.

On the anti-ban side:
I object to the fact that this money is going in the stores' pockets. Put the money towards recycling programs, since we have to pay more to separate our trash!

Posted by George
a resident of San Ramon
on Jan 6, 2013 at 2:45 pm

You can buy 1000 plastic bags and put them in your trunk for less than 2 cents/bag. Here's the link Web Link
I keep 1000 in my trunk and when I need them, I bring them in the store. Then when I'm done, I throw them in the ocean

Posted by Sieg Heil
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 6, 2013 at 5:04 pm

To China pollutes: taxpayers subsidize building, selling, and driving electric cars, under the mythological (illogical) guise of being clean.Clean electric works only with hands over the eyes and see no evil mentality. In fact, unless the driver produces his own solar, he's a very drity driver....subsidized AND DIRTY !! not so good. Plugging into a 'priority' parking lot or plugging into a home outlet is using lots of dirty power too.. Solar & wind provide single digit power. Most power is from clean nuclear, and other varying percentages are from assorted dirties, like coal.
Funny how the hypocrites talk about getting off foreign oil, yet fight against our abundant natural gas, that could make us self-sufficient and exporters. The electric mix those cars are plugging into, will shortly leave driviers stranded , since we are so dependent on nuclear to provide that power. Yet, those same people are causing us to fall behind in providing enough nuclear, fast enough, to even meet current needs, much less keep up with electric car demands. But these tunnel vision zealots go stumbling along complicating our lives, driving up costs, and causing shortages, because of short-sighted beliefs. Drivers parking in front door spaces should be reminded how dirty they really are. Don'td buy the hype. Check your pg&e statement of power source mixture. Elec drivers should have to provide their own solar power, in order to collect any 'clean' benefits, or to draw off our local power supply.

Posted by Some Dude
a resident of Kolb Ranch Estates
on Jan 6, 2013 at 7:37 pm

Thank you, Sieg Heil, for pointing out how reducing emissions is like Nazism and is born of an "evil mentality." Also for the fact that we are "so dependent on nuclear power." You strike me as incredibly well-read and highly educated. Please be our leader.

Posted by Citizen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 6, 2013 at 11:02 pm

@George - The best comment in this thread yet! I'm with you George.

Posted by LL
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 7, 2013 at 9:56 am

So now I will have to buy plastic bags for my little garbage cans instead of using grocery store bags. So I will be using the exact same amount of bags. How does this help the environment?

Posted by To the editor
a resident of another community
on Jan 7, 2013 at 10:00 am

Dear Editor,

Please do us all a favor and delete this discussion. Most of the comments are inane.

Thank you

Posted by Claudette
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 7, 2013 at 11:25 am


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