City of Martinez to Host Workshops on Upcoming Plastic Bag Ban

May 27, 2014 8:00 am · 59 comments


The City of Martinez will soon do its part in an effort to help preserve the environment, reduce litter and solid waste generation by banning the use of single-use plastic bags.

At its June 4th meeting, the City Council will deliberate on an ordinance banning the use of single-use plastic bags. If approved, the ordinance effective date is planned for September 1st, and would apply to retail and public eating establishments.

“Reducing the amount of garbage that clogs our creeks and litters our streets and highways is important for the health, economy and sustainability of the Martinez community,” said Mayor Rob Schroder. “It is also important to adopt rules that are easy to understand and minimize the impact on businesses, especially our small businesses. We are working to craft an ordinance that accomplishes all of these objectives.”
  He added that the input of the Martinez community – merchants and residents alike – is important.

To help business owners and residents better understand the proposed ban and answer specific questions, the City will hold two public workshops, both on May 28th, to answer questions about the proposed ordinance. The workshops will be held at 8:30 a.m. for merchants and 6:30 p.m. for residents in the Martinez City Council Chambers, located at 525 Henrietta Street.

Nearly 20 billion single-use plastic bags are used annually in California, but less than five percent are recycled. The State Water Resources Board is focusing on trash reduction to prevent litter from going into streams, creeks and water outlets.  Martinez has increased its litter pickup and installed trash capture devices in about 60 storm drains in the downtown area along Alhambra Avenue and other commercial areas to prevent plastic bags and other such debris from going into the creeks and bay, noted City Engineer Tim Tucker. He added that more such devices are to be installed.

Over 90 jurisdictions in the state have approved plastic bag ban ordinances that impose paper bag fees on customers that do not bring their own reusable bags, including the cities of Walnut Creek, Pittsburg, and San Pablo. Pleasant Hill is currently considering a similar ordinance. In Martinez, the proposed user fee would be 10 cents per paper bag.


Ulrich Sondermann May 27, 2014 at 8:42 AM

Please note this is another feel-good waste of government. The fact is that plastic bags do not pollute the soil, they remain plastic for millions of years. However, paper manufacture uses harsh chemicals and they get into the environment when the paper decays. Plus, do-gooders need to know that when paper decays methane, a green house gas, is produced. But the feel-good legislators are never swayed by facts or any science. This is another law that has no way of showing that the legislation has the desired results.

aClaycordian May 27, 2014 at 8:43 AM

The nanny state: we won’t go after those who actually litter, we’ll just punish and restrict this who use plastic bags and assume you are too irresponsible to handle the bags yourself.

Blame the object, not the people using them incorrectly. :/

Michelle May 27, 2014 at 8:44 AM

I really hope they don’t ban plastic bags in Martinez. It’s not cost effective, if you bring cloth bags to the larger, you would be limited to what you can buy without it being a hassle. I really hope this ordinance doesn’t pass.

Connie Dobbs May 27, 2014 at 8:53 AM

Hahaha. I got out just in time.

Palermo May 27, 2014 at 8:57 AM

NOOOOOOOOOOOO. I hate those stupid cloth bags, they are dirty and full of germs. What happens if you don’t have enough for what you bought that day. Stupid idea, but I would expect no better from Martinez ridiculous city council.

Always Right May 27, 2014 at 8:59 AM

Before a city should be allowed to ban plastic bags, they should be required to show existing methods of litter law enforcement have been aggressively pursued.

How many citations did the Martinez police issue for littering last year? If they have been aggressively enforcing the law and the problem persists, then ok. But my bet is they haven’t done squat and are just punishing the majority because they are too lazy to enforce existing laws.

Anon Redux May 27, 2014 at 9:56 AM

Banning Plastic Bags isn’t green or healthy

Let Walnut Creek and Martinez pass silly, politically correct, anti-business laws. So far, other cities in the area haven’t jumped on this idiotic bandwagon. Maybe Pleasant Hill and Concord actually understand that imposing poorly thought out rules on local businesses actually hurts them?

A 2011 study conducted in Arizona and California found that 51 percent of cloth bags used for groceries contain coliform bacteria.

Seventy-five percent of reusable bag users do not use a dedicated meat and/or vegetable bag. Cross-contamination, plus a cloth bag baking in the trunk of a car, equals a bacteria fiesta on your next salad.

Washing the bag will remove 99.9 percent of bacteria; however, 97 percent of cloth bag users admit to never washing their bags.

The United Kingdom’s Environment Agency determined that cloth bags have to be used 104 times before their environmental performance surpasses that of plastic bags. The same study showed that the average cotton bag is only used 51 times, and some cloth bags are used much less.

Most reusable bags are produced in China. They are then transported here on gas-guzzling cargo ships, which adds to pollution.

Most plastic bags are manufactured domestically. Passing this ordinance threatens the jobs of nearly 30,000 working Americans that this industry supports. One hundred percent of the material left over from making plastic bags is recycled.

Over 80 percent of people report that they reuse plastic bags, the so-called “single-use bag.”

Anon Redux May 27, 2014 at 9:56 AM
Blah May 27, 2014 at 10:06 AM

Envirosax is a reusable bag brand that can hold up to 40 pounds. They are pricey if you buy them strait from their site but they can be found on deal a day sites.
I agreew ith what aClaycordian (#2) says. We should promote recycling them, not banning them outright.

57 Chevy May 27, 2014 at 10:09 AM

Plastic bags are pretty convenient. We’ve been saving them for years, for this very reason.

It’s a matter of time before all cities comply.

It would make more sense if people used them responsibly. But thanks to all the irresponsible people, we all get punished.

We can still use them where we live, but I’m sure it’s coming.

Shulla May 27, 2014 at 10:27 AM

What about vegetable-based biodegradable bags that were to replace the current polyethylene bags I read about some time ago?? Cost to retailers for polyethylene=2cents/bag…..vegetable-based=7cents/bag. It’s very doable. The retailers just need to suck it up…it’s called the cost of doing business. Don’t stick it to the customers. They could share the cost with all the environmental groups that dictate so much of our lives.

Pyrrhus May 27, 2014 at 10:34 AM

@1 it isn’t about what goes into the soil, it’s about what goes into our water ways. Go look up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, Where the vast majority of it is made up of plastic. Plastic bags to break down faster in the ocean, but they also have a negative impact on marine life. Here’s an article on how biodegradable plastic bags are

Also, the bag ban pushes for the use of reusable bags. I live in San Francisco and work in Alameda County. We are used to not having plastic bags and we have no problem shopping with reusable bags.

@5 Do you wash your clothes? Why not throw that cloth bag in the washing machine. Also, what are you doing that makes them so dirty? Also, don’t you wash your vegetables before you eat them? If you don’t bring enough bags then you pay $.10 for a bag.

@Everyone else. Whether you like it or not, the entire state is going in this direction. People living in San Francisco, Alameda County, and the San Jose Area are already functioning this way. If they can do it, I’m sure you all can adjust as well.

MikeyV May 27, 2014 at 10:41 AM

I’m all for it. I hate plastic one-use bags. I hate how when I go to Safeway, and buy 4 things, I come home with like 8 bags.

Please ban plastic water bottles next!

All you lazt fat people can find another way to get your KFC buckets home.

Blah May 27, 2014 at 10:46 AM

@12. It’s not about comparing it to wash clothes. Transporting meat in these reusable bags is kinda gross. I guess you could purchase a plastic disposible bag for the times you buy meat, but I’m not really on board with putting meat in the same bag I transport my veggies in and then throwing it back in my car.

hope May 27, 2014 at 11:01 AM

Get ready to line up like cattle for the slaughter. They will treat you like a thief and search you like a prisoner every time you leave a business. The amount of damage being done to the forests by the increase in paper bag usage is significant as well. This has been bad for every citizen except those that own stock in the reusable bag industry, and the country that makes them (CHINA).

Palermo May 27, 2014 at 11:26 AM

Uh no. 12, I probably buy a lot more at the store than you do. I wash my clothes but I don’t care to wash them with leaking chicken juice, sour milk, items covered in God knows what, rat feces/urine from the stockroom and loading docks.

Vandy May 27, 2014 at 11:44 AM

I am glad to see the one-use plastic bags banned. Reusable bags are much better for the environment. I switched over to Chico Bags two years ago. It was a change. It took a while to used to remembering to bring my first bag. So I bought a bunch of them: I keep one in my backpack, one in the glove compartment, and a bunch that I have for when I know I am making a big shopping trip. I throw them in the wash once in a while. They are all still good as new and will serve me for many years to come.

Han Solo May 27, 2014 at 12:32 PM

I get a warm feeling inside knowing that my city council is working on solving such heavy issues in my town.

Han Solo May 27, 2014 at 12:36 PM

I get a warm feeling inside knowing that my city council is working on solving such heavy issues in my town. Now what will I use when I clean Chewy’s litter box ?

! May 27, 2014 at 12:38 PM

hey palermo – it sounds to me like you make an awful mess when you go grocery shopping. get some self control! there will still be plastic bags for your chicken. there is still the possibility of warehouse atrocities on the plastic bags you already use and love.

if you need a ton of bags – here’s a novel idea… wash them in their own load. or, if that still disgusts you, hand wash your cloth like people have done throughout civilized history in the last 3/4 of a century. you sound like a lazy entitled ass.

Subterfuge May 27, 2014 at 2:03 PM

Yes, please ban the bags. But, do we really need a workshop for this?

typical concord resident May 27, 2014 at 2:19 PM

And here we have proof that Claycord posters and the whiniest, most entitled people on the planet. You’re crying because of a ban on plastic bags? Really?

Palermo May 27, 2014 at 2:27 PM

No. 20: and now I am remembered why I quit posting on this site. You don’t know me, you will never know me, but be sure to judge me

Pyrrhus May 27, 2014 at 2:48 PM

@Palermo and Blah Does washing bags make it sanitary? The facts say yes, someone’s perception doesn’t matter. Are you disgusted with reusable plates or do you only use disposable plates? Let’s say you leave the dishes over night, would you throw them all away because bacteria has grown on them or some insect or rodent may have been on top of them? Any sane person would throw in the dishwasher and let them be cleaned.

@Hope that’s why it’s being encouraged to use reusable bags instead of paper bags. Also, in the future we may be seeing more hemp based paper, so saving the trees can’t be used to dissuade the use of paper over plastic.

Tree Farm May 27, 2014 at 3:10 PM

Can’t wait to see the landfills overflowing with plastic milk containers and other plastic products, once plastic bags are banned.

What’s that? You didn’t know those bags were already recycled? Yep, they are. And yes, the landfills will be filled with milk cartons now.

JustMe May 27, 2014 at 5:49 PM

I dislike this ban, and didn’t realize it was already implemented in Pittsburg. It’s highly inconvenient. You shop for something at Target or Lowes or Home Depot, and have to walk out with everything in your hands, because there’s no bag of any kind. It’s stupid, and it’s one of the reasons I don’t shop in Pittsburg anymore if I can help it.

M.Stevens May 27, 2014 at 6:22 PM

Help defeat plastic bag bans and taxes across the country. Please sign the petition at:

itsme May 27, 2014 at 9:18 PM

So does that mean Target will have to switch to paper?

@phyrrus May 27, 2014 at 9:42 PM

You’ve failed to give good cause why everyone should have the government restrict their choices of bags, because of the actions of a few. I’m interested in hearing your argument why this, additional, overbearing regulation is necessary.

@typical concord resident May 27, 2014 at 9:44 PM

Actually, it’s a bunch of Martinez whiners whining about everyone’s plastic bags. Noting that a small vocal minority is screeching about something, and demanding regulation on everyone in response, isn’t whining.

You’re whining that people are noting that a group of whiners are whining and trying to increase the already burdensome amount of regulations they have to abide by on a daily basis? Really?

Anon May 27, 2014 at 9:56 PM

Absolutely stupid! The problem is not the bags, it is the people who toss them. Next they’ll toss the paper ones like in before the plastic ones or the multiple use ones. F$%^ing nanny state!

Anon May 27, 2014 at 9:59 PM

@Pyrrhus #12

Go back to the hippie fantasy land you live in, tard.

DON'T HAVE TO BE SINGLE USE May 27, 2014 at 11:00 PM

Most people I know reuse the bags. I would never again vote for someone who would support such a ban !!!!

Connie Dobbs May 28, 2014 at 7:19 AM

#33 They replace the need to purchase food storage bags, trash can liners, animal refuse bags, and packing material. They make effective biohazard containment and in a pinch can serve as temporary rain gear, laundry bags or matching luggage. They also contain leaking from biodegradeable takeout boxes. I predict the ban will lead to more litter, not less. Who gets the dime per bag, btw? The store?

Pyrrhus May 28, 2014 at 9:31 AM

@29 They need to be banned because idiots don’t dispose of the bags correctly. All you have to do is look down highway 4 and 680 to see bags stuck on fences. The problem lies with the scientific fact that plastic bags make it into our waterways which kills and poison wildlife. You may not care about the pelican that suffocates from a bag, but the fisherman do care when it hast the potential to kill off their livelihood. Here’s information on Plastics in the Ocean:

Tell me, what is your solution to cut down on plastics in our ocean that doesn’t involve Government intervention? Show me facts that companies and consumers are responsible enough to fix the problem.

@32 Hippie fantasy land? It’s 2014, not 1965, there are no more hippies. I also have bad news for you buddy, all of the bay area is moving towards banning direction and California will follow with may other states taking suit. I guess you can always move to Arizona for now.

Pegasus May 28, 2014 at 9:56 AM

The alluring Ms. Dobbs makes an excellent point.

Pegasus May 28, 2014 at 10:07 AM

I think Pyrrhus may have a knot in her undies. Maybe those bags can double as undies too. 😉

Connie Dobbs May 28, 2014 at 11:19 AM

Alluring? Admit it: you’re picturing me wearing a .99 Store bag as a rain hat.

Pegasus May 28, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Well…………………..sorta, but you’re carrying a Nordie’s bag.

Connie Dobbs May 28, 2014 at 12:59 PM

And quite a dashing figure I’d cut…

But really, who gets the ten cents? They sure don’t cost the store that much.

anon May 28, 2014 at 1:12 PM

A lot of people use the bags to clean up their pet feces. If they ban plastic bags, the feces will pile up.

anon May 28, 2014 at 1:13 PM

I reuse the bags for garbage.

Pegasus May 28, 2014 at 1:19 PM

My guess is them damn revenuers.

no problem May 28, 2014 at 4:31 PM

No problem I’m gonna buy a box of 1,000 plastic bags from Sam’s Club for $14 and just pull a pile of them out each time I head into the store.

As for all the do-gooders suggesting to use re-useable bags, did you ever consider the resources it takes to make and sell those bags, the water/soap/electricity it takes to wash and dry them, and the fact that ultimately they will go into a landfill as well? Did you ever consider that people who re-use their store plastic bags for trash liners, picking up poo, etc, will just have to buy brand new plastic bags instead, resulting in just as many plastic bags being used?

If we banned all plastic bags it might remove them from the environment and landfills, etc, but other bags would replace them, and nothing would replace the freedom we gave up to let everyone else decide what bags we use or don’t use.

Why is it everyone’s decision what bag I use? Am I not an adult of sound mind? Have I lost my right to make my own decisions?

Next you will ban couches cause some people are illegally dumping them in the street, or maybe you will ban pointed scissors cause some people are running with them. What gives you the right to make my choices?

Pyrrhus May 28, 2014 at 4:38 PM

@Pegasus, I’m a guy and I wear boxer briefs so I never have an issue with wedgies. Good try though.

@Connie why would litter increase from a ban on bags? Let’s assume someone litters instead of throwing something away properly because they don’t have a bag to carry it in. That would be offset by the number of people that would litter regardless if they had a bag or not. since neither of us can substantiate our claims, let’s say they cancel each other out. Now let’s get to some known facts. Here’s an article from the Mercury

Here’s the key quote:

“San Jose has already seen that impact. The city’s 2012 bag ban immediately covered all retailers. Last December, San Jose presented results of litter surveys in city creeks, streets and storm drains. Surveys after the bag ban in 2012 found 89 percent fewer bags in storm drains, 60 percent fewer in creeks and 59 percent fewer on city streets, compared with surveys before the bag ban. Plastic bags made up 8 percent of total creek litter in 2011 and 4 percent in 2012.”

Connie Dobbs May 28, 2014 at 5:51 PM

We’re doing this to clear up less than ten percent of the garbage stream?

People might be less likely to pick up after their dogs. Their babies, as well. I predict an upswing in abandoned 2-bombs when parents find themselves short of shopping bags to protect the car’s interior.

Because I don’t think my fellow Claycordians are stupid I know it will take approximately three nanoseconds for them to figure out that unnecessary packaging takes up space in the one bag they are likely to have with them. The trashcans directly outside many stores are usually overflowing, which stops exactly no one from putting more trash in them. All that excess packaging jettisoned to make room in the bag becomes litter when the trashcan is full. Don’t even think they’ll hire somebody to look after that, either. Well, Whole Foods probably does, but Dollar Tree won’t.

Pyrrhus May 28, 2014 at 9:03 PM

@Connie Please back up your assumptions with statistics. I can do the same thing, people will cut back on plastic bags if they have to pay for them. That means there aren’t as many being thrown around.

Also, just reducing trash by 10% can be a large savings for the city. Here’s the information that the city of San Jose made available before the plastic bag ban.

This part in particular:

Plastic trash solutions
Tough policies and regulations are needed to reduce plastic trash flowing to the Bay and ocean. Smartly crafted ban or charge policies, such as the one proposed in San Jose, are proven ways to create a mass switch to reusable bags to clean up our communities and San Francisco Bay, and save cities money. Washington D.C.’s five cent charge on bags has resulted in an estimated 80 percent decrease in plastic and paper bag distribution, and 66 percent fewer plastic bags found in the Anacostia River.

San Jose city staff estimates that it costs the City at least $3 million annually to collect plastic bags that litter creeks and clog storm drains. The City’s recycling contractors also support this policy, as plastic bags jam machinery, causing work flow stoppages and threatening worker safety.

Info May 28, 2014 at 9:31 PM
ammo May 28, 2014 at 10:02 PM

There you go Pyrrhus, looks like you were trumped by #48.
Funny…………you look a lot like shadowblade.

Connie Dobbs May 28, 2014 at 11:00 PM

Pyrrhus, you are aptly named.
I was stating an opinion. That you think I’m wrong is your opinion.
I apologize for not respecting your doctoral thesis. Please, science us.

Pyrrhus May 29, 2014 at 9:51 AM

@Ammo how is that being trumped by #48? I have a simple solution to dirty bags, Wash them. Does that mean I just trumped #48? Why are you so against not destroying the environment and saving the city money? If you want plastic bags you can buy them.

@Connie Dobbs Really? You are going to go with ad-hominem attacks now? I completely disagree with your point of view but you don’t see me reverting to childish name calling. As far as “scienced” you goes, I’ve presented enough reputable sources backing my opinion, now show me yours.

Here’s a great quote from BBC Editor Andrew Mango, “Facts are sacred, and opinions are free, but the reality, my friends, is that facts are expensive and opinions are cheap.”

Connie Dobbs May 29, 2014 at 11:52 AM

Reasonable people can agree to disagree.
I’m sorry I implied you were smart enough to pursue a PhD.

Connie Dobbs May 29, 2014 at 11:58 AM

For you lovers of statistics out there:

Pyrrhus May 29, 2014 at 1:30 PM

@Connie Dobbs Okay, you win. You don’t want to have an intelligent conversation but rather revert to back handed compliments and joke websites. If I wanted that I could just go to 4chan. .

ammo May 29, 2014 at 2:44 PM


Connie Dobbs May 29, 2014 at 2:53 PM

Do you have any statistics to support your assertion that I don’t want to have an intelligent conversation or are you merely stating your cheap opinion?

anon May 29, 2014 at 3:17 PM

I guess that they are tired of seeing all of the bags along 680 & 4 from Contra Costa Transfer!
Reuse old bags, double paper bags last a long time.
PS – I’m tired of seeing all of the plastic bags flying like flags on the BART barbed wire along the freeways.

Pegasus May 29, 2014 at 3:46 PM

Bada-Bing……..take that, Pyrrhus. Ms. Dobbs is one tough broad. Alluring too.

Atticus Thraxx May 29, 2014 at 5:45 PM

I thought stem cell research was going to help come up with bio-degradable plastic bags that broke down into inert particles after some amount of days when exposed to atmosphere. Or was I thinking of something else?

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