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Bag Ban: How’s It Working?
Wednesday, 09 January 2013 13:13

Lucky’s Store’s Courtesy Clerk Julianne Burnette loads groceries into one of the reusable bags the supermarket has on sale in the store. The Castro Valley Boulevard market has seen about half of its customers bringing in their own reusable bags to the checkout.

By Robert Souza





The timeworn question “paper or plastic?” at the supermarket checkout ended last week with the start of the new year and a new law banning the all-too-familiar single-use bags.

“At least half of our customers are bringing their own reusable bags, said Alicia Rockwell at the Lucky Supermarket in Castro Valley. “The other half are buying 25-cent reusable plastic bags or are paying 10 cents for the paper bags.”

At Al’s Market at 3550 Somerset Ave. on Sunday afternoon, store employee Nick Sears said most customers have been positive about the policy and were aware that the ban would be in place.

“Customers seem accepting of the bag ban. I think the hardest thing is people remembering to bring in their reusable bags,” said Sears.

That was the case for Castro Valley resident Kathy Gose who had to return to her car for reusable bags when she went to shop for groceries Sunday at the 580 Marketplace Safeway.

“I totally forgot the reusable bags,” explained Gose who said the plastic bags kept produce and meat safer from bacteria and afterwards were helpful for disposing diapers. “Honestly, I hate the plastic bag ban.”

Dog owners complain that the ban takes away the handiest means of cleaning up after their pets.

The Reusable Bag Ordinance, which affects about 2,000 stores in the county, was adopted last January by the Waste Management Authority to decrease the number of bags going to landfill and littering freeways and waterways.

The ordinance will also save cities money on litter and storm-drain cleanup, which costs Alameda County jurisdictions approximately $24 million every year.

The Castro Valley Sanitary District (CVSan) will be giving out a number of free reusable cloth shopping bags from 9 to 11 a.m. this Saturday in front of both Safeway supermarkets in Castro Valley, and again on Saturday, Jan. 19, from 9 to 11, at CVS Pharmacy and Rite-Aid Pharmacy, both on Castro Valley Blvd.

CVSan officials say that each of the durable bags can replace about 600 of the plastic bags over its lifetime.

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