has rescinded a plan to impose a 5-cent fee on all paper bags handed out at its four stores in Marin, saying it was confused about the applicability of the that goes into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