Waste Management Authority Adopts Expanded Reusable Bag Ordinance for Alameda County

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Today the Alameda County Waste Management Authority approved an expanded reusable bag ordinance for Alameda County. The expanded ordinance will apply to all stores and restaurants in the county, and will go into effect on May 1, 2017 for retail stores and November 1, 2017 for restaurants.

The reusable bag ordinance for Alameda County originally went into effect in January 2013 and applied to 1,300 stores that sell packaged food such as grocery, drug and liquor stores. Covered stores can only distribute compliant reusable bags or bags made of recycled content paper and only if the store charges a minimum price of 10 cents per bag, itemized on the receipt (the 10 cents goes to the store to offset the purchase cost of bags).

The types of stores will now be expanded to include all retail and restaurants. Retail stores will have the same requirements as currently covered stores. Restaurants would not be required to charge customers if distributing recycled content paper bags, but must charge a minimum of 10 cents for a compliant reusable bag (which may include durable thick plastic bags). Each city will have an opportunity (by December 9, 2016)* to opt out of the expanded requirements. However, all cities will continue participating in the current ordinance, which covers stores that sell packaged food and liquor.

“Expanding the ordinance to all stores will further protect our local environments and waterways,” said Authority Board President Dan Kalb. “The original ordinance proved to be a success, and we expect the expanded ordinance to make a positive impact as well on litter reduction in our communities.”

The outcomes of either State Propositions 65 or 67 will not affect the Agency’s bag ordinance since it was originally adopted before the state law adoption (SB 270) in 2014.

Additional details on the reusable bag ordinance expansion are available here.


* (12/10/16) Update:  No cities chose to opt-out of the expanded ordiance.