Ordinance Overview

What Stores are Affected?

Since 2013:

As of May 1, 2017:

  • All retail stores that sell perishable or nonperishable goods including, but not limited to, clothing, food, and personal items

As of November 1, 2017:

  • Restaurants and take-out food establishments, including food trucks and vendors who distribute food in bags


What is Required by the Ordinance?

  • Stop providing single use carryout bags
  • Stock compliant reusable and paper bags at checkout
  • Charge a minimum of 10 cents for compliant bags
  • Itemize 10 cent charge on receipts

View additional details for Retail Stores and Restaurants.  The full text of the amending ordinance is available here.


Why have this Ordinance?

Plastic bags are one of the most common litter items found in our waterways, and plastic pollution is a growing threat to oceans and marine life. Plastic bags take hundreds of years to break down or decompose, causing a cumulative litter problem. Shopping with reusable bags helps reduce litter and waste, protects creeks and the bay, and conserves natural resources.

Since implementation, the reusable bag ordinance has had dramatic results:

  • Overall bag purchases by affected Alameda County retail stores have declined by an estimated 80 percent. 
  • The number of shoppers bringing a reusable bag, or not using a bag at all, has more than doubled. 
  • 44% decrease in plastic bags found in County storm drains
  • Stores are participating with a compliance rate of 90+%





About the Alameda County Waste Management Authority

The Alameda County Waste Management Authority (Authority) is a public agency responsible for reducing the waste stream in Alameda County. The Authority, in conjunction with the Alameda County Source Reduction and Recycling Board, operates as StopWaste.