|In August 2012 The Berkeley Voice reported news of the upcoming ban affecting 90 businesses in Berkeley|
On January 1st, Alameda County began imposing a ban on plastic bags, and charging a fee for paper bags in certain stores. My county joined other counties and cities like San Francisco, San Jose, San Mateo, and Washington D. C. that have already passed laws to cut down on plastic bag pollution. Plastic bag laws. Businesses here may still distribute recyclable paper bags at checkout, but customers must pay a minimum of 10 cents per bag, and the hope is that the charge will encourage patrons to bring their own bags. The law affects stores that sell prepackaged food and alcohol and large pharmacies.
Many shoppers resent paying for bags, believing that stores are profiting from this new practice. Actually, no one is making money. Grocery stores typically pay 7 to 12 cents per paper bag, and less for plastic. The 10 cent charge will help compensate them for the mandatory paper selection. Fancy gift bags cost much more.
The law makes perfect sense, especially in this maritime environment where so many bags wind up in the bay or ocean. And now shoppers can make a fashion statement with their reusable bags.