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Getting Ready for the Plastic Bag Ban

Tips on how to prepare for the ban expected to be in effect in Alameda County starting January 1, 2013.

The plastic bag ban is coming to the Tri-Valley and the rest of Alameda

On Jan. 1, Alameda County will join San Francisco, San Mateo County, San Jose and 49 other California cities and counties in no longer providing single-use plastic bags at checkout — making reusable bags a must-have for any Bay Area resident, according to a recent press release.

All stores selling packaged food must charge a minimum of 10 cents for each paper bag.

Here are some tips on how to incorporate reusable bags into your holidays this year: 

  • Practice the new habit by bringing reusable bags while doing your holiday shopping. Get a head start on your New Year’s resolution!
  • Give friends and family reusable bags as gifts or stocking stuffers. Stylish, eco-friendly bags can be found at Etsy.com or for as little as $5 on Amazon.
  • Get in the DIY holiday spirit and craft your own reusable bag using only an old T-shirt and scissors (no sew). You can even personalize it with a favorite design or message for a loved one. See here for instructions.

For more information on Alameda County’s new ordinance, visit www.ReusableBagsAC.org.


david December 05, 2012 at 04:13 PM
Personalize the bag with: "Government get out of my business"; more oversight from the same agencies that are increasing our taxes and causing this country to go bankrupt.
Speedie B December 05, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Check with the school PTAs in your area to see if they offer eco-bags as fundraisers for their school. I know the PTA for Arroyo Seco Elem offers them for purchase thru MixedBags.com and they are high quality and come in many styles. Support our schools by purchasing through them so they can earn money from the sales. You can purchase online and all you need is the school's ID # to give them credit for the sale so they earn the money. Check with the schools in your neighborhood to see if they offer the same before getting your eco-bags somewhere else -- you will be directly supporting our Livermore kids' education.
Californicated1 December 05, 2012 at 04:49 PM
What if I bring in my own plastic bags that I recycle--usually as small or mid-size trash can liners--to have my grocer use to bag my groceries? "Single Use" is actually a perspective when you get right down to it. It may have been a "single use" from the grocery store when their clerk used them to bag my groceries, but I have always repurposed and re-used mine, especially as trash can liners, which saves me money because I don't have to buy the box of plastic trash can liners. They also come in handy as packing material if you have to ship a package, especially if they can't be used as trash can liners--cheaper than bubble wrap, especially if there isn't as much newsprint around like their used to be (newspaper, old phone books). And besides, wouldn't it be fun to have your local Safeway courtesy clerk stock up the bags you recycled from Wal-Mart and Lucky with the groceries you buy from Safeway? It could lead to some very interesting company policies coming down from their management not to allow that practice, or even allow customers to use bags that don't have their advertisements or logos on them. When you get right down to this, all of this nonsense about plastic bags is just that and that somebody out there is trying to modify our behavior with their vision for the future--and get us to pay more for it, either with continuing to use the "single use" bags or buying our own reusable bags. Sorry, but this looks like another scam to me.
Al Phillips December 05, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Plastic bag's are not the problem, it's the people that litter that are the problem. It would be easier to digest the 10 cents that stores will charge as a penalty to forgetting your bag, if the money went to clean up the environment, but it doesn't, it goes to the stores. They've managed to use the environment as a reason to charge us for stuff that used to be free. I feel sorry for the people that are on a fixed income and can't afford these constantly changing regulations. In my opinion this is similar to charging drivers for the privilege of driving in the HOV/Commuter lane. This too was sold to us as a way of saving the environment, but it is in effect a regressive form of a tax against the poor. People that can afford the expense and privilege of driving in these lanes cruise right past those who can't afford the cost to pay for the privilege of driving in these lanes. Now, people that can afford to have their groceries in a bag will, but for those who really count every penny will be forced to carry handfuls of groceries to their car or on the bus. Again, in my opinion this is another regressive form of taxes against the poor. Every time we increase a cost to save the environment, it's the poor that pay the bill
Bob Canning December 05, 2012 at 06:15 PM
I would suggest that interested peopel click on the link to get details of the law. There will be enforcement agents , who have the authority to fine. To contest, the fine must be paid in advance. There are also limits on stores giving away recycleable bags. They can only give away for a certain number of days. They also must keep records for all paper bags sold. While plastic bags and parts show up whenever we do clean up days along the arroyos. and are a pain to pick up, especially when they start to go to pieces, these regulations are very onerous. Another example of a good idea going awry when the government tries to find a solution. Just another example of government going way too far.
Californicated1 December 05, 2012 at 08:01 PM
The other thing I could see happening here is that there may be an increase in the number of shopping carts being stolen, especially out in the supermarket's parking lot, and when the user who absconded with the shopping cart is done with it, may wind up abandoning somewhere like on Chestnut Street, where there are already instances of people leaving stolen carts there and then the LPD comes by and issues those day-glo stickers on the handle as if it were an abandoned vehicle on the highway. Unlike a vehicle, though, it would be difficult to fine and assess the owner of the shopping cart, especially when that "vehicle" was stolen from their property and used improperly by somebody else, who may or may not have used it to cart their groceries home. Granted that this activity is already happening now, but that if the grocer or retailer is not going to provide bags without charging for them, I think those people out there not willing to pay for the bags may resort to other means to get their groceries home. In my case, I'll be using my backpack, which will limit what I can carry and will also restrict the amount of money I will spend on groceries, which may mean that if there are enough people like me out there doing that, we may see even more grocers and retailers out there folding their businesses and closing up their shops.
John G. December 06, 2012 at 12:36 AM
What's to stop an industrious individual from selling plastic bags to the customers entering stores? Looks like an opportunity for the unemployed. I'm sure they could make a sizeable profit if they only charged 5 cents a bags. For every stupid, well intended law, there is usually an opportunity waiting.
Bob Canning December 06, 2012 at 02:28 AM
I think that is a great idea. Then we will see outrage over the increase in bag rustling, and probably another set of county employees as enforcers. Forget about the shootings in Oakland, the gangs and the real crime. It will be pretty easy to find and fine unauthorized bag sellers.
Ken Rovasio December 06, 2012 at 04:27 PM
So I guess you have never shopped at Costco. For the past 8 years I have been shopping at Costco and I bring my own bags. Sometimes I forget to bring them into the store but when I get to my car I load them into the bags. Stop crying about it and bring a bag!
John G. December 06, 2012 at 04:53 PM
I know, it could give new meaning to the term " bag lady". We might just be reading future news articles about the "bag kingpin" of Alameda County. It would be perfect for the man and the lady that sit in front of the parking entrance by the Safeway gas station. They could become productive members of society!
CaliGirl March 27, 2013 at 04:03 AM
Reasons why I shop in Contra Costa County now. Dumb Democrats. Stop voting for eco-fascists.

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