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Where does the paper bag charge go?

Original post made by Questioning Mind, Palo Verde, on Feb 14, 2017

Due to a momentary lack of foresight (leaving bags at home) on a recent rainy day I was forced to "purchase" a bag to get my goods home. Due to the paper nature of the bag, it had become wet and the bag was useless as it disintegrated in my hands. The incident gave me cause to wonder where the charge for this useless piece of garbage went? I have searched around on the internet and can find no mention of where this City mandated charge goes? I can find no mention of how much money the City garners from this charge or tax, or what it is spent on.

From hunting around, I see that other communities use this charge (read tax) to put into homeless programs, litter collection program or to charity. There seems to be no mention of how Palo Alto spends its mandatory charge for bags?

Perhaps there is someone who can look into this. Perhaps the Weekly can do an investigative journalistic hunt into this for us.

Thank you.

Comments (9)

Posted by Hmm
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 14, 2017 at 9:52 am

You're mad because you had to use a paper bag in the rain because...(Main factor here) YOU forgot your bags. Instead of looking at the real cause of your frustrating day, you're all mad at the store or paper or rain or whatever. Accept the fact that your actions resulted in your own frustration.

Also, you shouldn't put "Purchase" in quotation marks above because it's exactly what you did. You purchased a paper bag because you forgot your others. Not sure an investigative piece is needed.
If you paid for them with unicorn tears, then yes, putting the word in quotes would be right, but I'm assuming you used a quarter like everyone else.

Posted by Resident
a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 14, 2017 at 2:02 pm

It is a pathetic and irrational law that never should have happened.

Leave it to liberals to make an enemy of....the plastic bag.

Posted by Green Quarter Acres
a resident of Green Acres
on Feb 14, 2017 at 2:09 pm


You should get our more. Go see impact of your plastic bags on wildlife.
Check out some of the south Pacific islands your western lifestyle have destroyed. This law protects us from those citizens that are [portion removed] addicted to their plastic bags and western conveniences.

Web Link

and here...
Web Link

Posted by Resident
a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 14, 2017 at 2:31 pm

Don't even bother, Green Quarter... plastic bags are FINE. The 10 cent charge is for PAPER bags. Government has no business meddling between me and my grocers.

The plastic bag ban, as implemented, is egregious.

I voted for Trump too so don't even bother.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 14, 2017 at 3:16 pm

I believe it was a charge implemented by the folks at the Santa Clara County Recycle and Reduction committee.

They have a huge commitments in regards to retirement benefits for the folks working in the public sector, this is one of the programs that they have invented to fleece the taxpayers out if their hard earned money.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.This is nothing people should look into the $10,000,0000 bond that was implemented by Bill Locklear for that white elephant-boondogle anaerobic digester that was built with the help of Zanker road landfill.

BTW, Bill Locklear used to be the head of CalPERS.

Posted by Questioning Mind
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 14, 2017 at 4:26 pm

Yes thank you everybody, I did forget to take bags I normally have with me. I did buy a paper bag in the rain which was not strong enough.

However, my question is where does the money go? I checked online and can't find what Palo Alto City Council does with the money? Does it go to charity? Does it go to litter pickup? I have been looking and can't find out how much this charge makes for the city and where it goes? That is my beef. I fully understand the fact that it was my own choice or lack of foresight, I just want to know where my money went.

How much money is being made by this and where it goes is quite a normal question for any type of tax, sorry Government charge.

Posted by Answer please
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 14, 2017 at 10:51 pm

It's a reasonable question, where does the money go?
Since most of us have trained ourselves to bring reusable bags along, I imagine it isn't a large sum.

So what's the answer?

Posted by Bag User
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 14, 2017 at 11:44 pm

The 10 cent per bag fee goes to the retailer to "to cover the costs of compliance with the ordinance, the actual costs of providing recyclable paper bags, educational materials or other costs of promoting the use of reusable bags."

The retailer also has to create a monthly report, available upon request to the city, on the purchases of the bags.

The link to the ordinance: Web Link

Posted by Questioning Mind
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 15, 2017 at 9:33 am

It appears then the City doesn't get the money but the retailer does? And of course I am sure that they all do their paperwork just in case they are requested to give the information which they know they won't be asked.

I still think a good investigation of this is in order. I know I generally have bags with me, but I have been watching at the checkouts and by my rough estimation, half the customers bring bags and half buy bags.

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