City of Walnut Creek Seeks Feedback on Proposed Plastic Bag Ordinance

January 29, 2014 8:00 am · 71 comments


The City of Walnut Creek is proposing a plastic bag ordinance, and they’d like you to share your thoughts by taking an online survey at or by attending a public meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 5th from 6:00PM – 7:00PM or Tuesday, Feb. 11 from 6:00PM – 7:00PM at City Hall, 3rd Floor Conference Room, 1666 N. Main St., Walnut Creek.

The following information on the proposed ordinance is from the City of Walnut Creek:

The City of Walnut Creek is considering an ordinance to prohibit the distribution of single-use carryout bags in all retailers (except restaurants and non-profit charitable thrift stores). Under the ordinance, all grocery and retail stores in Walnut Creek would no longer provide single-use carryout plastic bags. Stores may sell paper bags for a minimum of 10 cents for each bag. Protective plastic or paper bags, without handles, for items such as meat, fresh produce, dry-cleaned clothes and prescription medications will be allowed. Consumers will have the option to bring their own reusable bags or pay for recycled paper bags.

As currently proposed, customers purchasing food with WIC and calfresh ‘food stamps’ can be provided with a 40-percent post-consumer recycled content paper bag at no cost at checkout. We encourage these residents to bring their own reusable bags to the store. Call or send an email to to request free reusable bags (while supplies last).

How Walnut Creek Will Benefit

The City of Walnut Creek aims to see a significant reduction in litter in our neighborhoods and streets, improve water quality of our creeks and bay, and conserve valuable resources by passing this ordinance.

Click on the link or the picture above to take the survey.

Baggage January 29, 2014 at 8:16 AM

If the gal in the picture above will carry out my reusable bag I’d have no problem with the ordinance.

The Mamba January 29, 2014 at 8:20 AM

There is not problem with litter in the streets and neighborhoods of Walnut Creek from plastic bags, so that is a fallacy. Stop trying to be San Francisco and tackle the real problems of the city.

The Professor January 29, 2014 at 8:39 AM

And we can all ride our non-polluting bicycles to the store to buy our organic groceries. Then we can get our cardio in by pedaling home like mad while loaded down with hemp shopping bags.

If there is a litter problem, then it’s the plastic water bottles.

Viva Walnut Creek, the new Berkeley!

Dorothy January 29, 2014 at 8:47 AM

Don’t live or shop in WC so I have no say in the matter. But if it passes there will be a lot of upset people there.

I carry a bunch of bags in my car and usually forget to take them in wherever I’m shopping.

sunshine January 29, 2014 at 8:54 AM

What about all the litter from fast food containers they should address that.

biiiiiig problem... January 29, 2014 at 8:55 AM

I reuse my plastic bags to put in baskets where i can put trash in saves money and i like having them at stores. So what now we can now go in a store with a backpack and Stuart stuffing items in ok

. January 29, 2014 at 8:56 AM

So much for addressing the REAL problems. Like all politicians, they tackle the feel-good issues that have no measurable short-term or long-term impact.

Chuckie's Wife January 29, 2014 at 8:57 AM

Don’t know what the big deal is. So switch to paper bags and pay 10 cents per bag or bring your own. It’s just a matter of adjusting and developping new habits. Having lived in Europe for a short time recently, I had to adapt and it took but a couple shopping trips to make the adjustment. Not only did I have to remember to bring bags, but I also had to remember to bring a coin to get the grocery cart unlocked. You get used to it.

B January 29, 2014 at 9:10 AM

If the higher ups were Really concerned with the enviornment,, we’d all be driving electric cars………… Don’t kid yourself,,, it all comes down to $$$$$,, whether it’s good for the enviornment or not..

Just me January 29, 2014 at 9:18 AM

I think these new ordinances are absolute BS. It’s just a way for businesses to generate new revenue. If you think about it on average you use 3-4 bags grocery shopping thats an extra 30-40 cents per customer. That’s huge extra profits for providing exactly the same service as before.

I first ran into this in monterey where I had purchased a bunch of items and was then asked if I’d like a bag. The small plastic bag cost 25 cents plus tax.

I understand what they are trying to do but they’re going about it all wrong. Of course the stores and reusable bag makers aren’t complaining. More money for them

Antler January 29, 2014 at 9:19 AM

Plastic grocery bags are reused at our home. But I would support a ban on Styrofoam used as food containers.

Most litter I see has a fast-food place’s logo on it or is a candy wrapper or a plastic bottle. Has Walnut Creek tried putting garbage bins near where the homeless have paths coming up from the creek and canal brushy areas so close to their downtown?

JKI January 29, 2014 at 9:23 AM

This whole thrust about plastic bags is a result of a few WC councilmembers who sit on the solid waste board. They would prefer to not deal with the bags. As confessed by Cindy Silva. Once again, it’s not what WC needs or what the citizens want, it what the Business interests want to happen that becomes an agenda item.

Anon January 29, 2014 at 9:23 AM

Yahoo! San Francisco comes to CCC

Jojo Potato January 29, 2014 at 9:33 AM

That OpenTownHall site is pure garbage. There’s no question regarding if this proposal is a good idea of not, just things like how soon should it start and how much should bags cost and how about free bags for poor people? Our city council has gone insane. Is the already short handed police force going to monitor this? Meanwhile the city is a couple million collars short for next years budget and doing nothing about it except getting ready for a new parcel tax.

ClayDen January 29, 2014 at 9:36 AM


And where does the electricity come from to recharge the batteries in the electric cars?????????????? In a large part of the country, electric cars are really coal powered cars.

Baggage January 29, 2014 at 9:40 AM

Electric cars cause damage to the environment. Walk, bike or ride a horse with your re-usable bag (hopefully made with sustainable products).

Also, all this talk about “that’s what they do in Europe”, WHO CARES, this is America and we don’t want to be like Europe!

Justin January 29, 2014 at 9:44 AM


A good portion of the country also gets its electric generation from renewables and cleaner sources (that number increasing yearly). Plus, studies are pretty conclusive that centrally generated power (even coal) is more efficient and clean than millions of small, relatively un-monitored ICEs.

And then let’s not forget all the other things that go along with gasoline production – refining pollution, transportation, economic and political factors overseas.

I’ll take electric, thanks.

Lori January 29, 2014 at 9:47 AM

Chuckie’s Wife, Really? It costs money to use a shopping cart? WOW that’s interesting. Are you allowed to bring your own wagon and not use their carts?

Silva January 29, 2014 at 9:56 AM

We reuse/recycle the store bags in many ways in our household. Extras are donated to the grandson’s play school where they reuse them. I shop in many cities and towns in the East Bay, and do carry store bags in the car for when we shop in Emeryville where they charge per bag. I have trouble remembering to bring them inside the store! I have to pack up outside. Thrifty, eh? The survey has a predetermined outcome.

LocalMom January 29, 2014 at 10:09 AM

Sounds good to me. I have and see no reason to complain. What’s good for the environment is good for me and my family. Just an excuse to use all of those reusable bags we already have. And I have indeed seen many plastic bags littering the roads, bushes, and stuck on a branch blowing in the wind over time

Bud January 29, 2014 at 10:10 AM

In the first place they are not single use bags. I use the bags for my bathroom trash containers and to put my recycle trash in to take out to the recycle can. I don’t want to buy more plastic trash bags to but in my bathroom cans or for recyclables. Styrofoam is also recyclable if the recycle company would just do it. There is a lot more things that are recyclable if the garbage company would just do it. My recycle can is always overflowing because they don’t supply a bigger size can. It costs me enough to get rid of my garbage as it is. Just leave the plastic bags alone!!!!

Anon January 29, 2014 at 10:12 AM

Oh please- this isn’t about cleaning up the streets, it’s a way to generate more income. Plastic bags are not causing major litter issues in WC. Like many others I reuse my bags instead of buying garbage bags.
WC is just trying to just on the band wagon.

Anon January 29, 2014 at 10:14 AM

Correction to #16 Oops- I meant jump on the bandwagon.

Greed January 29, 2014 at 10:14 AM

It all comes down to $$$$$$. Consumers never had to pay for bags. If they want to “Reduce” litter and help the environment, stop using plastic bags! Only use paper bags like in the olden days. We weren’t charged then, we shouldn’t be charged now!! Paper is recyclable, DUH! One mans litter will become another mans $. So sick and damn tired of the greed in world!

YES # 11 January 29, 2014 at 10:14 AM

I’m with you all the way! BAN STYROFOAM containers!! And while you’re at it, ban plastic water bottles! I know they’re recycleable, but so many people just dump them! Bring your own refillable water bottles with you people!!!

Average Claycordian January 29, 2014 at 10:14 AM

It takes a plastic bag 200 years or more to decompose. The bag may not end up as litter in Claycord but it will end up somewhere for a long time. It doesn’t make sense to produce a product which we use for 30 minutes, then sit in the landfill for generations.

RanchgirlCA January 29, 2014 at 10:19 AM

I’ve been bringing my own bags for years. Doesn’t affect me one way or another.

oldman January 29, 2014 at 10:34 AM

I don’t have a problem with a plastic bag underground for 200 years.

VDS January 29, 2014 at 10:39 AM

I work in Pleasanton where they have been banned for quite awhile. I do find it takes longer to get through lines, without them. Also, in self check, it’s frustrating to not have that bag readily available. Somehow it does takes clerks longer to bag groceries in the personal bags people bring in & in self check, it definitely takes longer because people have set up their bags, etc. It is what it is, it’s going to happen sooner or later so everyone will just have to be patient & make adjustment. And I read somewhere, that they are thinking of raising the rate to .25 cents a bag & that adds up, if you forget yours & have a huge shopping order.

anon January 29, 2014 at 11:04 AM

I’m fine with them banning plastic bags but why suddenly start requiring they charge for paper? They’ve always been free, decompose quickly, and paper is a renewable resource.

Smilerrr January 29, 2014 at 11:07 AM

I don’t know how big a problem this really is, however it does seem logical to eliminate as much garbage as possible. But there are several things that bug me about this: first & foremost forcing us all to be exposed to potentially filthy, germ infested “reusable” bags brought in by strangers. Second, is having to endure waiting for said stranger to hand over the bags and then watching poor suzy clerk wrestle with said bag. Lastly, if you want public support provide a positive incentive, not a negative one; cash for each returned plastic bag and free paper bags. Will also virtually eliminate plastic bags from waterways, streets, etc. by kids and old people….and isn’t that the goal?

Pyrrhus January 29, 2014 at 11:26 AM

I’m all for it. I live in San francisco and it really isn’t that bad. I keep a bag in my car and a reusable bag in my backpack. Alameda County, San Jose, and now even Pittsburg has a ban on plastic bans. You can still have your bag, you just need to pay .10 cents for it.

Also, it isn’t about reducing litter (although it helped in San Francisco), it’s about keeping those plastic bags out of the Ocean. Ever hear of the Great Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch? It’s a mixture of plastic bags, bottles, and other debris. It’s not easy to clean up either, because it isn’t truly an island, it’s more like a galaxy of garbage spread about.

So stop being so selfish, pay your .10 cents or bring a reusable bag. I know someone is going to argue that it is unsanitary. Here’s a hint, wash your veggies or better yet wash your bag. You wash your clothes right? Throw it in with the laundry. problem solved.

TOB January 29, 2014 at 11:35 AM

It was the TREE huggers who wanted to ban Paper Bags why we have plastic today. Did we forget this?

If you check online reusing bags is unhealthy! Much like constantly reusing a water bottle, breads bacteria but knock yourselves out. I think WC is the new Berkley, WERKLEY. Let’s start logging those trees and spread germs with reused fabric bags. Wait until epidemic and use those bags in public. See how you like taking them home then. Brilliant Werkley leaders and residents who support being a Nanny state.

Worse is they fail to educate selves as new means of converting plastic back to oil/energy. Continues to evolve so we don’t need to be spreading disease or wasting more trees. Below are only a few samples, there are many links to converting Plastic Bags into energy.

Plastic bags are not the issue. Embarrassing leadership and uninformed sheep who listen and blindly go along. I know WC has smart people but sure isn’t showing. Letting minority run your life. Show some common sense take back your city from those who wish or think they live in Europe. This is America!

Clayton Squirrel January 29, 2014 at 11:43 AM

Super easy to bring your own bags. I keep them in the trunk. Trader Joe’s has a nice reminder sign by the shopping carts. Plastic bags for use around the home seem to accumulate just fine from other sources.

Ted K., SuperMax January 29, 2014 at 11:49 AM

STOOOOOOPID. There are more important issues on the table like resolving WC’s fiscal position, figuring out what to do with the Clarke pool, and prioritizing funding of City-offered services.

Thanks Bob Simmons….. You bleeding heart nincompoop of a libtard.

Peachy January 29, 2014 at 11:52 AM

I rarely shop in WC and since it will be even more upscale, I will be shopping there even less. If I want upscale, I go to SF anyway.

@30 January 29, 2014 at 11:56 AM

I agree with you, Annon.
I fully support ban on plastic bags, but charging paper bags ??
That is not right. I use all paper bags as trash bags at our house except in the kitchen. I put trash in paper bags and toss the whole thing into trash cans.

Well... January 29, 2014 at 11:58 AM

Really people? You act like it will take an hour just to have your groceries bagged. If you are so worried that cloth bags carry germs- wash it!!! Do you whine and cry like a little kid every time there is a change to your daily routine?

I would like to see a ban on paper bags as well. Deforestation is a huge problem. I’ll keep toting my cloth bags.

Get rid of them, January 29, 2014 at 11:58 AM

and styrofoam from everyday use. Don’t we discard
enough already , really, when will this throw away
for convenience stop.

skrab January 29, 2014 at 12:02 PM

I’m for it. You have to look at the effects of plastic bags outside Claycord. Plastic bags end up in the oceans, rivers, and lakes. Too much plastic.

It’s not that hard to remember to bring reusable bags into the store. I keep them on the passenger’s seat. That way I see them and remember to grab them before going into the store.

anon January 29, 2014 at 12:16 PM

I do not shop at all in places that charge for bags. If there is a problem with litter, why don’t the hippies, hobos and beggars clean up the litter.

Zanon January 29, 2014 at 12:23 PM

Took my daughter to College in DC fall of 2010. She and her sister went to the grocery store to get a few things and were asked if the wanted the items bagged. Being California girls, they said yes, double please. Well, when they returned and I looked at the receipt and 20¢ was added we quickly learned DC had a plastic bag law. I also, watched part of the Concord city council meeting last night and Councilperson Laura H. brought up where the WHOLE state is likely to have a plastic bag ban soon. Sorry, The world is larger than just Walnut Creek.

Silva January 29, 2014 at 12:30 PM

@Smilerrr (31) eew. I hadn’t thought of that. I’m forced to wash my hands upon entering anywhere from outdoors. Sometimes I’ve thought about washing the food items & packaging, but have resisted the urge. Hmmm. Icky.

Styrofoam should be banned.

little bo peep January 29, 2014 at 12:31 PM

I am with @ Silva…completely agree.
The outcome is already determined.
I also use the plastic bags for many things over and over.
I refuse to pay for bags, that’s why I stopped shopping in SF.
KEEP PLASTIC BAGS AT GROCERY STORES they really don’t harm anything, just people do… by littering. Taking Plastic bags away will not save this Earth , let’s get the transients and gangs outta town, now that’s a real issue we should be addressing.

VikingPrincess January 29, 2014 at 12:40 PM

How European

No…I bring my bags

Prefer the mindset where you are given a discount when bags are brought as opposed to a penalty for being human. No thanks

WCGator January 29, 2014 at 12:47 PM

How much did the City pay for the dumb PR campaign? I already use paper and reusable bags, but this is a waste, literally! An effort by the City Coucil to divert our attention from making us into the Orange County of the North! And charging for paper? All about American greed. Can I use my ratty reusable bags at the new, improved Broadway Plaza?

Lay off the meth January 29, 2014 at 12:59 PM

It’s our God-given right to get free plastic bags from the supermarket! It says so in the Constitution! And anyone who disagrees is a COMMUNIST!

The Mamba January 29, 2014 at 1:08 PM

VikingPrincess, that is a great way to incentive people to bring their own reusable bags, I like it. I would vote for you for WC city council. Even though you are not on the Dudums payroll like all those other dirt bags.

Anderson January 29, 2014 at 1:14 PM

What a bunch of sheep. When elected government starts imposing a creeping tide of little fascist dictates it needs to be replaced. Of course, each one of these surrenders isn’t so bad on their own, right? And when we’re used to giving up a little bit more liberty again and again, it won’t hurt so bad when the Big One comes and takes away all the rest of them, right?

ClayDen January 29, 2014 at 1:41 PM

@Justin 17

The modern ICE is an incredibly low polluter. If you want your electric car, fine, you can have it. I love a small responsive car with a high specific output IC engine (not a diesel) and a manual gearbox that I am in control of. Older cars were high polluters; modern ones are not.

Regarding political factors overseas: We have enough fossil fuel in North America that we can be a net exporter. It’s the bozo Democrats (I know, that’s redundant) that are the problem. We should have a rational energy policy that gets a greater portion of our electric power from nuclear and then we can use liquid hydrocarbons for transportation, the best transportation fuel there is. BTW, do you realize the incredible amount of pollution that results from the manufacture of batteries?

Dree January 29, 2014 at 1:56 PM

If all of you that are complaining about this bag issue paid attention you would have known that if you had already been using reusable bags that you actually got a credit when you shopped and used them in some areas. Pittsburg has already changed over and now we no longer get a credit which is fine because I’m tired of seeing the streets every where I go covered in plastic bags including Walnut Creek. I care about the planet not just about the city I live in and don’t mind doing the little things. Actions count…stop complaining, buy a few damn bags and go make a real difference regarding some of the other important subjects you guys are bring up here today instead of mouthing off about them behind a computer and doing nothing.

Always Right January 29, 2014 at 2:10 PM

I think it is great . I Never buy groceries in walnut creek, so this means more business for Concord, which is a good thing.

Always Right January 29, 2014 at 2:13 PM

I think it is great . Means more business for Concord. Walnut creek shoppers are welcome to shop in Concord, which has no such silly laws.

Spartan January 29, 2014 at 2:31 PM

I fully back the ban on plastic bags and having people bring bags. However, I think it should be tackled at a county level. I think adoption will increase and confusion mitigated if consumers don’t have to be concerned about which particular city they’re shopping in on that day. They are days, especially during the holidays, where you could be in Concord, WC and maybe PH all in the same day. Supporters of this should tackle this from a county-wide perspective like Alameda County.

@alway right January 29, 2014 at 2:34 PM

But the shoppers that opposed the increase in Sales Tax Concord are not shopping Concord so I guess it evens itself out.

Bob Brittain January 29, 2014 at 2:41 PM

We have started picking up trash on local trails and streets almost every day. The plastic bags are a significant part of the litter problem in central Contra Costa County. Styrofoam is actually not prevalent except for the packing material pellets! Plastic water and other beverage bottles are major contributors.

Pyrrhus January 29, 2014 at 3:26 PM


“Give me free plastic bags or give me death!” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

You are trying to use the slippery slope fallacy. It’s exactly that, a fallacy. I bet if you had it your way we’d live in an anarchist society where it’s every man for himself. I choose to live in the civilized world where we actually care about each other and about the environment.

Antler January 29, 2014 at 6:24 PM

To the people who say that plastic bags do not decompose: SOME do not. Check this out on googlesearch: “biodegradable plastic bags”.

Run an experiment. Bury a series of different brands of grocery store carry-out plastic bags 3 feet underground in an area that gets sprinkler water. Dig down and check on them every now and then. Enter dated results beside each brand name on your chart. And please do not wait 200 years to get back to us with your findings! 🙂

in Concord January 29, 2014 at 6:51 PM

Wow…..most of you must be Republican…..I dont see therefore there is no problems. Who cares about your children’s childrens….as long as you are taken care off for the next 30 years you are good…..brillant. They have been charging bags in Europe for 20 years but ohhh no….we are a Socilist if we do that!

WC Resident January 29, 2014 at 7:56 PM

Leave plastic bags alone!!! There are many other issues to worry about. I reuse plastic bags as well as recycle them. I have brought my own bags to the store and never gotten a credit for them. You also have to wash your own cloth bags (using water which we need to conserve).

hope January 29, 2014 at 8:23 PM

When I was a kid we didn’t have plastic bags and the paper bags were FREE. What’s the big deal? Take away the plastic, but give away the paper.

Antler January 29, 2014 at 8:41 PM

Also, please Googlesearch maybe using “Is Styrofoam biodegradable?”

Many aspects are covered in the various links, but I settled down on the one called Earth Resource Foundation.

Methuselah January 29, 2014 at 9:34 PM

In my day we used goat bladders to carry our groceries. And it was up hill both ways in the snow.

Granny Snagkitten January 29, 2014 at 10:29 PM

I saw some youths in the market just yesterday stuffing all the hooch and candy they were going to buy into a backpack. Thoughtful young gentlemen!

Antler January 29, 2014 at 10:44 PM

You forgot the part about being barefoot……

@Methuselah #64 January 29, 2014 at 11:09 PM

Also wind, was there any wind on your way to and from the store?

Mom of the Horde January 30, 2014 at 11:48 AM

Of all the issues the City of Walnut Creek could address, and they’re talking about a plastic bag ban? WTH?

anon January 30, 2014 at 11:53 AM

In my day, I had to walk across broken glass and then cross a rubbing alcohol river.

Tango Hotel January 30, 2014 at 1:09 PM

I HATE this proposal. Bags should be a free courtesy item provided by retailers for their customers. FORCING people to purchase bags will cause many customers such as me to NOT buy from retailers in those cities. I work in San Francisco, but I NEVER buy anything there because of the bag charge. If there is a bag charge for bags in Walnut Creek, I will NEVER shop in Walnut Creek again in my life (or until the charge is eliminated whichever comes first)

Old Gringo January 30, 2014 at 2:36 PM

I will leave my dogs crap on their streets if this passes as a protest for not being able to get my FREE REUSABLE PLASTIC BAGS !!!

Bettyboop January 31, 2014 at 2:49 PM

Dublin started this a year ago and everyone is embracing it— Yes, Walnut Creek and everyone else should. I see plastic bags blowing in the wind all over Concord. Why should we allow stores to dump this on us? This at least stops the waste

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