Plastic bags are harmful to the environment for the following reasons:
A lot of resources such as oil and energy are needed to produce plastic bags.
Plastic bags take up room in landfills.
Plastic bags are light and blow away into the environment contributing to litter, disrupting drivers, and harming wildlife.
Plastic bags are difficult to recycle, and not all plastic bags are recyclable.
For this reason, many jurisdictions in California including Alameda County have already banned plastic bags.
The City of San Pablo approved a single-use plastic bag ordinance which became effective on January 1, 2014. The ordinance prohibits the distribution of plastic bags in retail stores (i.e. supermarkets and clothing stores) and requires retailers to charge customers a minimum of 5 cents for a paper bag (increased to a minimum of 10 cents effective January 1, 2016). The purpose of the ordinance is to encourage residents to bring their own reusable bags. Restaurants and take-out food establishments are exempt from the ordinance. Produce bags and bags for raw meat will still be available in stores.