Plastic bag bans at retail stores and restaurants go into effect on New Year's Day at businesses in El Cerrito, Richmond and San Pablo. Merchants in each city will no longer put goods in complimentary plastic bags. Stores will have paper bags available for a small fee, but consumers are encouraged to bring reusable bags.

The goal is to reduce litter and resource consumption. The ordinances in El Cerrito prohibit both single-use plastic bags polystyrene food containers.

The bag ordinance prohibits city retail stores from providing customers with free single-use bags at checkout, while the food container ordinance prohibits restaurants from using containers made from polystyrene for takeout food in favor of containers that can be composted, reused or recycled.

In San Pablo, restaurants and takeout food establishments are exempt from the city's ordinance.