Plastic bag ban starts Monday | April 19, 2013 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |

Mountain View Voice

News - April 19, 2013

Plastic bag ban starts Monday

by Daniel DeBolt

Shoppers take note: Mountain View's ban on plastic grocery bags begins on Earth Day, Monday, April 22.

The City Council-approved ban is designed to encourage shoppers to use re-usable bags for groceries, and keep plastic bags from polluting waterways and hurting wildlife. Paper bags will still be allowed at grocery stores, but at a price: 10 cents for the next 18 months, and 25 cents thereafter.

"Protective" plastic bags will still be allowed for such items as meat, nuts and bolts at hardware stores, prescriptions, newspapers, dry cleaning and greeting cards.

Juan Origel, co-owner of Ava's downtown Market and Deli, said he'd heard a few complaints about the ban from people who say "it's a freedom that's been taken away," but people from cities that have already have such bans in place, including San Jose and Palo Alto, are "shocked that we are still giving bags out."

The ban is a financial relief for his business, Origel said, saving the store hundreds of dollars a month to give out about 300 bags a day.

"It's one less expense for us," said Origel, who bought the Castro Street store with his wife Ann in 2011 and have at times struggled financially to transform it into a neighborhood-serving grocery store. "Most retailers I'd say are pretty happy about it. It helps us."

Ava's is selling reusable bags for 99 cents each.

Council members voted 5-2 in favor of the ban in December as part of a regional effort lead by San Mateo County. Council members Tom Means and John Inks were opposed, saying it limited personal freedom. Environmentalists, government officials and other council members said the move would protect local wildlife and keep bags from polluting the ocean and clogging local creeks.

For more details, see the city's web page about the ban at

Email Daniel DeBolt at


Like this comment
Posted by FedUp
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 18, 2013 at 10:39 pm

While a bag ban in SF might make sense, in MV there is almost no bag pollution and this policy adds little value here while making life a real hassle for many.

And guaranteed there is much higher chance of getting food poisoning from reusable bags than with limited use plastic bags. When someone gets seriously ill or dies from that, what will you say about this so-called environmental policy...

Like this comment
Posted by usedtolivethere
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 19, 2013 at 7:30 am

Plastic bags are a scourge! We got along just fine without them for MANY years. If you're worried about your health(yeah, right) buy a paper bag!

Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 29, 2013 at 2:52 pm

The shopping bag ban is a huge pain - to businesses and consumers. I am an avid recycler and reuse paper and plastic bags, always. I never throw them away without using them for either loose paper recycling (in the case of paper bags) or garbage can liners (plastic bags). I also use plastic bags to carry my lunch. I am very concerned about the unsanitary nature of canvas bags, which are brought into the stores, filthy, full of raw chicken juice, broken egg remnants, etc., and then dragged over counters and handled by clerks who then handle other people's food. Mtn View City Council, do you even think this far ahead to realize how unsanitary this is? This also makes it much easier to shoplift, thereby driving prices up for the rest of us. You paper/plastic bag haters are a bunch of fools.

Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 29, 2013 at 2:58 pm

usedtolivethere, how about you buy the bags for us since you are so eager for us to spend our money? I guarantee that you will never be able to save money since you are so eager to spend it - 10 cents here, 10 cents there. Take a math class (oh, you failed it, that's right). It adds up. I bet you don't have more than $1K in your bank account because money just slips through your arrogant, mindless little fingers, doesn't it? Many of us use those plastic bags to carry out lunches and line our trash cans because we are not so eager to spend money to buy them. The are reused and appreciated. We should not be punished for the likes of you who just throw them away. You need to learn how to recycle. The real scourge on this planet is you and people like you.

Like this comment
Posted by Bagman
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 3, 2013 at 10:30 pm

Those "free bags" are not free. The stores markup prices for everybody. Buy a dozen reusable canvas bags and just wash them regularly like you do clothes. This is not a big deal folks and will help the environment, save non renewable resources, reduce carbon footprint and more...

Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 6, 2013 at 7:38 pm

Why don't you buy us the bags, so eager to spend our money, are you? Most of those "free" bags will fall apart in the laundry. Besides this, many of us need and use plastic bags as trash liners or lunch sacks, and now we have to buy them. It's a huge pain in the ass. It's like Europe without culture or pretty churches or good transportation - but rather, just the things that suck about Europe. Lovely.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.


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