Walnut Creek takes the lead

Plastic bags are used for an average of 12 minutes before being discarded.

On Tuesday night, the city of Walnut Creek adopted one of the strongest plastic bag bans in the San Francisco Bay Area. Voting 4-1, the city council passed an ordinance that will ban plastic bags and establish a minimum charge of 10 cents for a paper bag. Bring your own bag and you will not be charged. Not only does this ban apply to all types of stores in the city, it also applies to restaurants. The Bay does not differentiate between a bag from a grocery store and one from a restaurant – by applying the ordinance broadly, Walnut Creek is stopping plastic bag litter at the source, before it becomes Bay trash.

Four other cities in Contra Costa County have passed bag bans, but Walnut Creek is the only one – so far – that covers restaurants. We are calling upon the rest of Contra Costa to follow in Walnut Creek’s footsteps and pass comprehensive bans. With over 60 plastic bag bans in the Bay Area, we are getting close to eliminating this wasteful product from our region and protecting our creeks and the Bay from plastic pollution. Plastic in our waterways is not just an eyesore – studies have shown that plastic absorbs pollutants from the water it’s floating in, becoming even more dangerous and toxic to wildlife as time goes on.

We won’t let the momentum stop here, so stay tuned for more news on bag bans in Contra Costa County.