Alameda County's Reusable Bag Ordinance goes into effect on January 1, 2013.
The ordinance bans single-use disposable plastic bags at most grocery stores and other food retailers. It also places a 10 cent charge on paper bags which must now meet certain environmental sustainability criteria.
The ordinance is designed to reduce the environmental impacts associated with single-use disposable bags while advancing the use of reusable shopping bags.
Complete details including the text of the ordinance, a FAQ for shoppers, bag specifications, and tools for retailers are available at reusablebagsac.org
Each school in Alameda County's Service-Learning Waste Reduction Project will distribute postcards to family and community members to raise awareness about the ordinance.
Postcards may be distributed as part of weekly packets sent home to families, handed out at school events, or throughout the community as a part of projects designed by teachers and students. The effort is designed to reach over 25,000 households.
Schools are also encouraged to explore ways to make and distribute durable, reusable bags as part of their waste reduction efforts.
Schools might sell bags as a fundraiser or pass out free bags with school logos or student designed sustainability slogans.
To help advance this effort, please refer to the resources below.
The following set of videos can help raise awareness about the environmental impacts associated with plastic bags. Use the navigation bar below the video to scroll through the various resources ranging from music videos to mocumentaries to public service announcements. If you have a video that you think should be added to this list, leave a link and description in the comments at the bottom of the page
Making Reusable Bags
The internet is full of tutorials for making reusable bags. Use the navigation bar below the video to scroll through the various resources ranging from "no sew" bags to crocheted bags made from plarn. If you have a video that you think should be added to this list, leave a link and description in the comments at the bottom of the page
- Instructables tutorial for heat-fusing plastic bags with an iron: Click here
- Girl Scouts tutorial for making a tote bag from a t-shirt: Click here
- Roberta Miller's instructions for making a bag from an old t-shirt: Click here
- Gizmodo article discussing environmental concerns presented by different types of bags: Click here
- News article (11/26/12) featuring brief discussion of life cycle analysis for paper, plastic and reusable bags: Click here
- Plastic Bag Recycling Industry guide to identifying plastic bag types: Click here
- California Department of Public Health guidelines for safe use of reusable bags: Click here
- Reuse Corner blogger reminds you to bring your bag: Click here
Login or register to share other tools, tips and techniques for promoting reusable bags in the comments below.
On November 27, 2012, teachers and students in the Service-Learning Waste Reduction Project met to learn more about the ordinance and explore ways to make reusable bags using discarded materials. Schools are organizing bag-making campaigns to help support the upcoming Reusable Bag ordinance set to take effect 1/1/2013 in Alameda County.
Thanks to StopWaste's Roberta Miller, ACLC's Patricia Williamson, and Judi McDowell and Darlene Wilhelm for leading Creation Stations. Thanks also to Zocalo Coffeehouse in San Leandro for donating burlap sacks to be converted into reusable shopping bags.