Plastic Bag Ordinance


What is the City of Walnut Creek’s Plastic Bag Ordinance?
Starting on September 18, 2014, single-use plastic checkout bags have been eliminated from all retailers. Paper bags made of post-consumer recycled materials may be sold at a minimum of 10 cents per bag. To avoid the bag fee, shoppers are encouraged to bring their own reusable bags. Click here to read the Ordinance [PDF].

Why is the City banning plastic bags?
Data obtained from conducting trash hot spot assessments showed that single-use carryout plastic bags were among the most commonly found litter along creek banks. The littering of plastic bags is an increasing blight on land and poses water quality problems. Due to their expansive and lightweight characteristics, wind easily carries these bags and they end up entangled in bushes, tossed along streets and freeways and in our local creeks. Most plastic bags do not biodegrade but instead persist in the environment for many years. These issues prompted Walnut Creek City Council to adopt the Plastic Bag ordinance on March 18, 2014.

What are the requirements for public eating establishments?
Beginning December 18, 2014, all public eating establishments (such as restaurants, delicatessens, cafeterias and food trucks) may not distribute single-use plastic checkout bags to customers for their take-out food. Customers can opt for no bag, paper bags may be provided to customers at no charge and a reusable bags can be used at the discretion of the customer and restaurant. Individual paper or plastic product bags without handle may be used around containers of soup or stew to prevent spilling.

What about public eating establishment located within a retail establishment?
In this case, a café within a department store, or a delicatessen within a grocery store must follow ordinance requirements for public eating establishments when registers are designated only for the sale of prepared food (as a stand-alone restaurant would). If customer purchase merchandise item along with prepared food, the entire purchase is subject to the ordinance requirement for retailers including a minimum ten-cent charge for paper or reusable bags. 

What resources is the City providing to retailers and shoppers?
A free retailer tool kit with signage to help educate customers is available on the 3rd Floor of City Hall at the Business License desk. 

For inquiries, click here to send an email.