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Melanoma Cases Soar in Marin County

Whole Foods Backpedals on Paper Bag Fee

Grocery chain had planned to impose a 5-cent fee on paper bags at its four stores in Marin to comply with new county ordinance but rescinded the move after realizing it didn’t apply to its stores.

has rescinded a plan to impose a 5-cent fee on all paper bags handed out at its four stores in Marin, saying it was confused about the applicability of the that goes into effect Jan. 1.

The grocery chain, with one store in Novato, one in San Rafael and two in Mill Valley, posted signs last week (pictured at right) at its stores notifying customers that it would be charging 5 cents per paper bag as of Jan. 1.

In doing so, it cited the plastic bag ban ordinance last January. The ordinance includes the 5-cent fee as a way to discourage customers from simply transitioning from plastic bags to paper bags once the plastic ban goes into effect.

But the county ordinance only applies to retail markets in unincorporated Marin — the in Strawberry but the one at the Millworks building in downtown Novato, for instance. For a similar plastic bag ban to go into effect at stores within city limits, each respective city council would need to pass its own ordinance.

Dori Beron, the manager of the Whole Foods on East Blithedale in Mill Valley, said the stores took down the signs after realizing that the county ban wouldn’t apply to Whole Foods’ four stores in Marin.

“It was unclear to us and we pulled the signs down,” she said. “We don’t want to impose the fee unless we have to.”

The Save the Plastic Bag Coalition after the board approved the ban, and despite a Marin Superior Court ruling in September that threw out the group’s attempt to block the ban, the organization’s founder and attorney Stephen Joseph appealed the ruling Nov. 29. He must file an appellate brief in February.

Lynne Wasley January 02, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Though I understand that change can be difficult (plus most of us don't like to be told what to do!), switching to reusable bags is truly a simple and inexpensive way to be a part of positive change. I'm not an "enviro freak" but I always carry/use reusable bags, it's an easy habit to adopt. By avoiding paper and plastic bags one reduces the green-house gases and toxic chemicals emitted into our air and water, lessens the natural resources (trees, water, oil, etc) consumed and decreases the amount of garbage/landfill generated (recycling rates of disposable bags are extremely low for both paper and plastic). A small change like using reusable bags can make a big difference. I hope some Novato Patch readers consider putting it on their 2012 resolution list (far easier than not eating sweets/junkfood - a resolution I broke first thing on the morning of Jan 1 when I ate chocolate chip cookies for breakfast!)
Lou Judson January 02, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Thanks Craig. I'd love to learn more of the background - I'm in the phone book if you care to share...
Russ January 03, 2012 at 05:46 AM
The Rite-Aid over by the Safeway in Novato is charging five cents for bags. Guess management didn't get the memo that it doesn't apply to them. I wonder how many other businesses are doing accidentally doing this?
RJM January 04, 2012 at 02:47 AM
Safeway here in town isn't charging for bags yet.
Lou Judson January 04, 2012 at 03:02 AM
Wouldn't that be nice! I am planning to get over to the new <Marinwood Market and see if there is a real local alternaive to both WF and "Safe" way... Ironically I just found out it was open yesterday: <http://insidescoopsf.sfgate.com/blog/2011/10/07/marinwood-market-opens-where-else-in-marinwood/> Hope they can make it!

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