Plastic bag ordinance leaves room for Alameda County cities to tighten ban

Jan. 26, 2012 | The Alameda County Waste Management Authority, or their more hipper name,, approved Wednesday a potentially groundbreaking plastic bag ordinance banning the toxic totes at grocery stores and pharmacies, but it’s likely not the last you will hear about it this year.

Surprisingly, the body didn’t get greedy eating the entire politically-fulfilling pie. Instead, it left a portion for elected officials in a few East Bay cities hoping for a notable and guilty-free portion of a ban wildly popular among residents and environmentalists.

Since San Jose passed a similar ordinance last year, officials in the East Bay could see the tidal wave of plastic bag ordinances careening their way.

Officials in Berkeley are already formulating their own more comprehensive plastic bag ordinance including a ban on bags from retailers, which was notably absent from the County’s ordinance.

Expect at various times this year, for several East Bay cities to take on similar, wider-ranging ordinances, not only for the benefit of shrinking swelling landfills and saving the environment, but for the prime opportunity for local pols to puff their chests and pop their collars.

(This article is featured in today’s Fifty+One blog.)

Supplement stories in the EastBayCitizen by reading my new heavily updated blog “Fifty+One” ( covering the East Bay political scene featuring behind-the-scenes observations and pertinent rants and ravings. “Fifty plus one,” by the way is the winning electoral equation for all politicians.