On December 6th, 2011, Sunnyvale City Council members voted in favor of a plastic bag ban in supermarkets greater than 10,000 square feet and other large retailers, but will exclude restaurants and nonprofit/charitable organizations. The ordinance will also charge a .10 cent fee for recycled paper bags. Reusable grocery bags will be available for sale at check out if customers forget to bring their own.
The ordinance will not go into affect until June 20th, 2012, which will give retailers a chance to use up the plastic bags they have already purchased. Customers that are participating in the California Special Supplemental Nutritional Program for Women, Infants and Children or on food stamps are exempt from the paper bag fee.
Sunnyvale City Council city also voted to expand the ban to include all retailers by March 2013. By 2014, Sunnyvale City Council will introduce a fee schedule, with an increase of the paper bag fee to 25 cents. San Jose has already passed their own plastic bag ban, so having Sunnyvale also vote in favor of the ban will help with consistency throughout the region.
Although some recycled grocery bags are made of plastic, customers can use them hundreds of times even with regular washings. Once the bags are worn out, the heavier plastic material is easier to recycle than the light weight single use plastic bags.
Save The Bay was instrumental in their participation with city council to promote the ban.
For more information on Sunnyvale’s ban, go to The Mercury News.