The town of Danville's new local law prohibiting retailers and restaurants from handing out single-use carryout plastic bags to customers will take effect on Friday, more than 18 months after the Town Council approved the ordinance instituting the ban.
The council, primarily citing concerns about littering and water pollution caused by discarded plastic bags, endorsed the local ban in December 2014, but gave businesses and patrons until this week to prepare for the new rules.
"Each year, Californians use millions of single-use plastic bags, which end up in landfills, streams, rivers and San Francisco Bay," Nat Rojanasathira, assistant to the town manager, said in a statement Wednesday. "This ordinance will reduce the number of bags polluting our creeks."
The town ordinance applies to all retail establishments -- defined as businesses that sell goods such as clothing, food and personal items -- as well as all public eating establishments, including restaurants, take-out eateries and other businesses that receive 90% or more of its revenue from the sale of prepared food.
Grocery stores and restaurants could still distribute small plastic bags for produce and meats, or for wet items or soups at restaurants, according to town officials.
Businesses that violate the bag ban could face fines of $100 for a first infraction, $250 for a second infraction and $500 for each subsequent violation.
The Danville ordinance does not require businesses to charge customers for paper bags, but it requires businesses to offer only paper bags made from at least 40% recycled paper.
Town officials noted that Danville's new rules are not affected by the results of the upcoming California plastic bag ban referendum, a measure on the statewide ballot in November that seeks to uphold the statewide ban approved by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2014.
For more information on the Danville bag ban, visit the town website.