Following on the heels of plastic bag bans in cities including San Jose, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, the Alameda County Waste Management Authority’s Reusable Bag Ordinance goes into effect Tuesday.
That means any of grocery stores and many other retailers in the county's 14 cities selling packaged foods and alcohol won't be handing out free plastic bags at the checkout counter.
Recycled content paper or reusable bags may be provided if the retailer charges at least a dime per bag. To avoid the bag charge, customers will be encouraged to bring their own bags when shopping.
The ordinance will not only reduce landfill, but save cities money on litter and storm drain cleanup, the authority said, which costs Alameda County jurisdictions approximately $24 million every year.
Alameda County now joins about 55 other cities and counties in California working to decrease the number of single-use bags. Californians Against Waste has compiled a list of those cities and counties here.
All 14 cities in Alameda County and unincorporated parts of the county agreed to participate in the ordinance, increasing the number of jurisdictions with bag ordinances statewide by nearly 30 percent, the authority said.
“Plastic bags harm marine life, are difficult to recycle and are one of the most common litter items found in our creeks, storm drains and streets,” said Gary Wolff, P.E., Ph.D., Executive Director of StopWaste.Org. “By limiting the distribution of single-use bags and urging people to bring reusable bags, we expect to see far fewer plastic bags littering our cities in future years. One reusable bag can replace as many as 600 single-use bags over its lifetime.”
Here are tips shoppers can use to remember their reusable bags:
- Hang a few reusable bags on the coat rack or near the front door Keep a reusable bag at your office or place of work
- Keep compact reusable bags in your purse, backpack or pocket
More information is available at ReusableBagsAC.org.