Martinez, CA Passes Plastic Bag Ban

Martinez, CA Passes Plastic Bag Ban

Martinez, California, June 4, 2014 (PBBR) - The City Council of the City of Martinez, California decided today to adopt an ordinance banning plastic bags. The vote was unanimous by the Council.

The ordinance, which begins January 1, 2015, prohibits the free distribution of single-use plastic bags by all retailers in the City of Martinez. Affecting not only food stores, the ordinance will also be in effect at department stores, convenience stores, book stores, pharmacies, specialty stores, etc.

Many plastic bag ordinances phase-in implementation starting with large stores and then smaller stores. However, Martinez decided that a phased implementation would be confusing, not only to merchants, but also to the public. Therefore, the ordinance will be implemented at all retailers on the same date.

Martinez's carryout bag ordinance prohibits plastic carryout bags but does not state a specific mil thickness. The ordinance also prohibits plastic bags that are compostable or biodegradable. Reusable plastic bags are allowed. In fact, the ordinance mandates that reusable bags must be made available by all merchants. If the reusable bag is made of plastic, it must be a minimum of 2.25 mils in thickness.

Paper bags are allowed but merchants must charge a minimum of ten cents for each bag. Also, paper bags must be made of at least 40% post-consumer recycled content and must be 100% recyclable.

Martinez was home to the late John Muir, founder of The Sierra Club. Martinez is located in, and is the county seat of, Contra Costa County. Five other Contra Costa County cities have passed ordinances regulating plastic bags including Walnut Creek.

Martinez becomes the 169th city in the U.S. to ban plastic bags and is already posted to the updated List of Bag Bans. If we include American Samoa and Puerto Rico, the number of bag bans is 171.

To learn more about the effects of plastic bags on our oceans and wildlife, visit


Cover photo: Contra Costa County Courthouse in downtown Martinez. Author: Sanfranman59 from Licensed by Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0)