The West Contra Costa Integrated Waste Management Authority (RecycleMore) is looking to phase out the ubiquitous plastic grocery bag.
RecycleMore recently completed an environment assessment for a proposed ordinance, which would ban plastic bags and place a 5-10 cent charge on paper bags at all retail stores in unincorporated Contra Costa County as well as the five cities that created RecycleMore—Richmond, El Cerrito, Hercules, Pinole, and San Pablo. The comment period for the study ended on September 5.
According to the study, the covered population of almost 250,000 uses more than 127 million plastic bags each year. Local governments are unnecessarily spending taxpayer dollars to manage these bags in the environment. San Pablo’s annual litter cleanup and abatement costs related to plastic bags were estimated at nearly $25,000 each year.
Not included in this cost estimate is the impact to the waste management industry (plastic bags notoriously clog up recycling machinery and create a nuisance in landfills when loose) as well as inflated grocery prices to offset the cost of these "free" bags. We calculate that the plastic bags used in West Contra Costa County currently cost shoppers an extra $2.2 million each year.
RecycleMore is currently reviewing and responding to comments on the bag study before it moves forward. Read more in an article.
Check our Take Action page to see how you can support the RecycleMore bag ordinance and others when they are being considered.
(photo courtesy of Davis Enterprise)