Starting on January 1, 2013, grocery stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, liquor stores, drug stores or other entities that sell milk, bread, soda AND snack foods AND/OR alcohol in Alameda County can no longer provide single-use plastic carryout bags at checkout.
Affected stores must charge a minimum of $0.10 per bag for each paper bags or reusable bags.
Consumers may bring any type of bag to a store for their purchases, and are encouraged to do so.
The ordinance does not regulate use of single-use bags used to protect and transport produce, bulk food or meat from within a store to the checkout or cash register.
See our Frequently Asked Questions for Shoppers page
Plastic bags are one of the most common litter items found in our waterways. Plastic pollution is a growing threat to oceans and marine life. Plastic bags often take hundreds of years to break down or decompose, causing a cumulative litter problem. Paper bags are not without their own problems — the paper bag manufacturing process is very resource-intensive.
We estimate that nearly 764 million single-use plastic bags are distributed in Alameda County annually, in addition to more than 100 million paper bags. Roughly 10,000 tons of plastic bags find their way to Alameda County’s landfills every year. Additionally, plastic bags cause processing equipment problems at recycling facilities.
Using reusable bags helps reduce litter and waste, protects creeks and the bay, and conserves natural resources.
For more information see Frequently Asked Questions.
It's a good idea to regularly clean your reusable bags. Below are some common-sense tips on how to keep your reusable bags clean and safe.
Regularly clean your bags. Most fabric bags can be washed in the washing machine. For bags made from plastic material, soak in a basin filled with soapy water and either the juice of half a lemon or about a quarter cup of vinegar.
Air out bags air so moisture evaporates.
Please see "Practical Tips for the Use and Care of Reusable Grocery Shopping Bags" from the California Department of Public Health
You can make a reusable bag in 10 minutes using just an old t-shirt and a pair of scissors! See the simple instructions.
Alameda County jurisdictions, in collaboration with other Bay Area cities and counties, have partnered with the Bay Area Recycling Outreach Coalition to launch public education campaigns, including the regional Bring Your Own Bag “Make It A Habit and Grab It!” campaign. Learn more at igotmybag.org.