The Alameda County Waste Management Authority (StopWaste) has recommended expansion of the ban on plastic bags to include all retail stores and restaurants.
The Pleasanton City Council received an update on the ordinance from the StopWaste staff at its June 21 meeting.
Goals of the ordinance are to reduce litter and keep plastic bags out of local waterways.
Currently, the reusable bag ordinance applies to grocery, drug and liquor stores in Alameda County that traditionally distribute a high volume of single-use bags. Since implementation of the ban, there has been a decline in overall bag purchases by 85 percent, a doubling of shoppers bringing their own reusable bags or not using a bag at all, and a 44 percent decrease in plastic bags found in Alameda County storm drains.
The expanded ban would apply to commercial establishments operating from a permanent enclosed structure that sell perishable or nonperishable goods directly a customer, including, but not limited to, 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 are 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.
Exemptions include bags that are integral to the packaging of the product, or bags without handles provided to transport produce, bulk food or meat from a department within a store to the point of sale. Stores operating in a certified farmers' market registered with the California Food and Agricultural Code are also exempt.
The ordinance currently includes a requirement that a minimum of 10 cents be charged for each paper bag or reusable bag distributed at point of sale, itemized on receipt. Under the new ordinance, public eating establishments are not required to charge customers if distributing recycled content paper bags, but must charge a minimum of 10 cents for a compliant reusable bag.
StopWaste will vote on the ordinance in September with the second reading scheduled in October of this year. All member agencies are automatically opted in. Any member agency choosing to opt out must do so by a resolution of its governing body by December 9, 2016.