Walnut Creek plastic bag ban takes effect

Starting Thursday, customers at Walnut Creek retailers will have to bring a reusable bag or pay 10 cents for a paper bag to carry their purchases as the city’s plastic bag ban takes effect.

The city is one of the latest in the Bay Area and the state to ban single-use carryout plastic bags at all retail stores. A ban on plastic bags at restaurants in the city will go into effect on Dec. 18.

The City Council voted 4 to 1 for the ordinance banning plastic bags in March, about four years after city leaders first considered a plastic bag ban and directed city staff to draft a law aimed at retailers.

City officials say plastic bags have long been a leading source of pollution in Walnut Creek’s streets, parks and creek beds, which is not only an eyesore but also affects local water quality. Under the new plastic bag ordinance, stores must sell recycled paper bags for no more than $0.25.

Retailers are also required to sell reusable bags and are encouraged to educate employees and customers about the ban. Stores that do not comply with the ban can be fined $100 for a first violation, $200 for a second violation and $500 for a third and any additional violations.

Walnut Creek follows more than 90 cities throughout the Bay Area and California that have banned plastic bans.

Anyone with questions about the new ordinance is encouraged to call the City of Walnut Creek at (925) 256-3503 or email bringyourbag@walnut-creek.org.