Walnut Creek City Council Approves Plastic Bag Ban

March 5, 2014 19:32 pm · 119 comments


Walnut Creek will be one of the next Bay Area cities to say goodbye to plastic bags.

The City Council voted 4-1 on Tuesday night to ban single-use carryout plastic bags at all retail stores and restaurants.

Customers will instead have the option of paying 10 to 25 cents for a paper bag or bringing their own reusable bags to shop.

Walnut Creek follows more than 90 cities and counties statewide that have implemented a plastic bag ban, including Contra Costa County cities such as Richmond and El Cerrito.

The ban will take effect for all stores in September and for all restaurants citywide in December.

City leaders first considered the idea of a plastic bag ban in 2010 and in October the City Council called on city staff to draft an ordinance prohibiting retailers from distributing plastic bags.

The idea was initially discussed after it was learned that plastic bags were a leading source of pollution in the city’s streets and creek beds.

Retailers who do not comply with the ordinance may be fined $100 for a first violation, $200 for a second violation and $500 for a third and all following violations.

A few people voiced their opposition to the ban on Tuesday night, saying it will unduly burden residents.

But Rinta Perkins, who manages the city’s Clean Water Program, said Tuesday that the “challenges are outweighed by the benefits of reducing litter and cleanup costs paid by taxpayers, preserving wildlife and protecting human health.”

She also cited a survey among San Jose business owners and residents showing that 98 percent of that city’s retailers have complied with the plastic bag ban enacted in 2012 and that the law drastically reduced plastic bag litter citywide.

101 Ricardo March 6, 2014 at 2:53 PM

What about the plastic bag the newspaper comes in during the rain? Is the cc times going to change for WC & Pittsburg?

102 just a concordian March 6, 2014 at 2:55 PM

A plastic bag costs the grocery stores something like half a penny. They are now selling them for 1500 markup. A paper bag is significantly less. The markup is much higher. Someone IS profiting from this. And it’s not us.

103 anon March 6, 2014 at 3:51 PM

@#102 the city must be getting some kind of fee.

104 JustMe March 6, 2014 at 3:59 PM

I hate this, and it’s one of the reasons why I don’t shop in Pittsburg, which already has the ban.

If they want to remove plastic bags, they should give us paper without charging extra for it.

105 Louisa March 6, 2014 at 4:01 PM

lol WC, and I thought you liked bringing your own bags, remind me not to shop behind you; you’ll have everyone in that line until closing time. :-)

106 slagheap March 6, 2014 at 5:10 PM

excellent, a very responsible decision. btw, a statewide ban is long overdue – and it is coming!!!

107 slagheap March 6, 2014 at 5:13 PM

oh, i forgot one thing: all you cretins up in arms over this, SUCK IT.

108 @Reality Slap #52 March 6, 2014 at 5:56 PM


109 just a concordian March 6, 2014 at 5:59 PM


May I interest you in a new house? Great location, smoking neighbors and falling leaves all year through. And it’s right near Safeway so you can walk from the store with your arms full of groceries. Don’t drop the eggs.

110 ahilal March 6, 2014 at 8:20 PM

Having already been through this in my former home city, I’m glad it came to Walnut Creek, where I now live. It is no burden whatsoever. If you can’t be bothered to bring in a sack then pay a dime. It reduces the amount of trash blowing around the hills and floating in the creeks and off our coast. I say hell yes please and thank you.

111 Hvacman March 6, 2014 at 8:25 PM

The term single use is the misleading politically correct term they use to cram yet another unwanted, unneeded law down or throats.
We use them over and over as do most people. Most people have dispensers made specifically to hold and keep handy bags such as these.
Someone above posted:
“Just had a thought….waiting for the one person to push up to a checkstand with 50+ items in their cart, refuse to pay for a bag, refuse to furnish one of their own, and have to have the courtesy clerk put all the items one by one back into the cart. It will be a zoo. LOL”
Take it a step further and ask them to help you take the unbagged groceries to your car…and load each single item carefully into your vehicle :)

112 Just me March 6, 2014 at 8:42 PM

LMFAO. You guys aren’t going to go shop in concord or pleasant hill. Seriously. You’re going to spend 5 bucks more on gas to save 40-50 cents in bags. Give me a break with all this huff puff.

This story broke weeks ago and I bet none of you went to city hall to voice your opinion. So why bs everyone now.

This whole thing is a scam.

If you really want to stick it to them then load up a cart. Go through the checkout and after everything’s all rang up and they tell you that bags cost money tell them you’re not interisted in purchasing then and walk off.

Shopping at the Safeway in pleasant hill over the one in walnut creek doesn’t hurt Safeway. In the end they still get your money

113 RepealBagFee March 7, 2014 at 12:14 AM

Boycott shopping bag fee. No shopping. No sales tax for Walnut Creek and its City Council. We will let them try to balance their budget.

this is a total eco-fad perpetuated by the green people. It does not help the environment. It hurts the environment. And it hurt retailers and consumers.

With this onslaught by the leftists, the libels, I hope we all can appreciate lesser government more. Come to Republican or Libertarian.

You want to watch this 6 min movie: Are You Being Told the Truth
About Plastic Bags? on YouTube:


The ban is bad for:

— it is bad for the retailers. Bagging customers’ purchase
is the least of customer services that retailers should provide, especially on
discretionary shopping. Discretionary shopping is for pleasure. If it is not
fun, why should we shop? Then all stores can close, and we can all go

— it is bad for the residents. Many of us use them for garbage and pet
waste. Without them, we have to buy much thicker trash bags. Why is it better?

— it is bad for the environment. Plastic bags are made from
natural gas or oil. They take little to make compare to paper bags which come
from trees. The making of paper bags causes more green house effect, and global warming is our
biggest environment treat.

The bans supporters claim that only 3% plastic bags have
been recycled. Have they counted the ones we used for trash and pet waste?

Real scientists vow to the unbiased principle. They research
and do data gathering. They do not take side or advocate.
Those who advocates are not real scientist.

Buy 1000 plastic bags from Amazon for $25; the price has gone up from $20 due to demand.


114 Pat Cuviello March 7, 2014 at 2:06 AM

The grumblers will grumble and pay for the bags or bring their own and after a short time will stop grumbling and then forget why they ever grumbled in the first place. Just like recycling. Good for Walnut Creek and good for the environment.

115 JRConcord March 7, 2014 at 6:54 AM

Humans are a virus on this planet, eventually we will kill our host.
Good times!!

116 Laura Zah March 7, 2014 at 9:17 AM

Well JR self eradication is always an option.

117 NutCreek Frontier March 7, 2014 at 11:08 AM

Normally, a fan of WC Council, but think this is a silly law. Hardly think the people who buy groceries with plastic bags are then running over to the creek to throw those plastic bags in. Sadly, this will just encourage me to shop more at Trader’s Joes in Concord, and not Countrywood Safeway in Walnut Creek. Please WC Council please don’t turn into SF with empty-headed, feel good proposals that actually can turn around and bite you in the tax revenues.

118 Claycordite, retired RN March 8, 2014 at 12:33 AM

@#81 You kind of mentioned health issues in passing. I am sure that within the next few years we will see the Health Department objecting to anyone bringing in to the grocery store a bag from home which has been who knows where , loaded with all those antibiotic resistant germs we’ve picked up when we used the restroom somewhere, be it a restaurant or some other public place and perhaps we set down our purse and/or reusable bag carrying snacks or lunch fixins for a picnic, or snacks to a sporting event. I can’t see us promising to wash each bag after each use. let alone actually doing it. Forget that! Health Department issues will force provision of NEW carry out devices, be it bag or box to avoid stores passing on communicable diseases, even dangerous antibiotic resistant strains. Mark my words, we will see this if providing our own carry out bags is forced on us. The check stands and especially carts are already questionable communicable disease spreaders. Let someone’s only possibility of exposure be a grocery store – look out, the public concern for this danger will spread like wildfire and the issue of the day will be wild.I hope I;m wrong!

119 Antler March 9, 2014 at 11:55 AM

JWB at #95. ……more’s the pity.

RepealBagsFee at #113 …… Thank you for the excellent and clearly-presented information!

Claycordite, retired RN at #118. ….. Me, too.

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