OAKLAND (CBS SF) — The trend of reducing the number of plastic bags will officially
hit Alameda County on Tuesday.

Beginning Tuesday, Alameda County grocery stores, retailers selling packaged foods or alcohol will be required to stop giving out single-use bags at checkout, the Alameda County Waste Management Authority said.

Recycled paper to reusable bags can still be distributed but at a minimum charge of 10 cents per bag.

Alameda County joins other parts of the Bay Area, including San Francisco, San Jose, and San Mateo, that have already established similar ordinances.

Alameda County anticipates the program, which was adopted in January 2012, will save on the cost of litter and storm drain cleanup, which costs the county about $24 million per year.

“By limiting the distribution of single-use bags and urging people to bring reusable bags, we expect to see far fewer plastic bags littering our cities in future years,” ACWMA executive director Dr. Gary Wolff said. “One reusable bag can replace as many as 600 single-use bags.”

Stores will still be allowed to provide plastic bags for produce, bulk food or meat from within the store. Restaurants and take-out food restaurants are also exempt from the ordinance, the ACWMA said.

WIC and food stamp customers are not subject to the bag surcharge.

All 14 cities within the county and unincorporated Alameda County will participate in the program.

Customers are encouraged to bring their own reusable bag to shop to cut down on waste and cost, the ACWMA said.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed)


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