Plastic Bag Bans 2.0?

Posted by — August 23, 2011 3:24 pm

Soon To Be Ancient History

A new type of effort to ban plastic bans is starting to appear more frequently.  Up until now, successful bans on single-use plastic bags have been at municipal level, or in unincorporated portions of counties (Santa Clara, Los Angeles and Marin).  State-wide banning efforts, such as California’s AB1998, and Oregon’s SB536, failed, after plastics lobbying groups spent huge sums of money in both states. Now, however, there appears to be a hybrid of the various efforts — a county-wide ban of plastic bags with fees for recycled paper grocery bags — and it seems as though this variation is doing quite well.

San Luis Obispo County, California. The county’s Integrated Waste Management Authority has directed its staff to prepare an ordinance that would ban use of paper as well as plastic bags at stores throughout the county, with the goal for the ban to become effective by July 1, 2012. The public will have an opportunity to comment on the proposal in September.

Sonoma County, California. All nine cities in Sonoma County would need to endorse this proposed plastic bag ban/paper bag fee in order for an ordinance to be developed.  The City Councils for the two cities of Windsor and Petaluma voted to endorse the proposal of the Sonoma County Waste Management Agency. Sonoma City Council approved the proposal in a 5-0 vote last night (Monday, August 22).  Healdesburg, Sebastopol and Cotati, have all approved the proposal.  At a city council meeting in Rohnert Park on August 2 however, council members voted against the proposal, citing cost issues, as well as consumer choice.  Santa Rosa City Council will meet on September 13 for the first time to discuss the proposal.  The  Rohnert Park City Council will revisit the issue, with the city council taking another vote on the proposal.

Santa Cruz County, California. Today, the County Board of Supervisors met to vote on a county wide ban which would also prohibit restaurants as well as large stores from using  single-use plastic bags.  A fee of  .10 cents for paper bags would be in effect through 2012, then increase to .25 cents in early 2013.  Customers who receive food stamps would receive free paper bags at all stores.  Although the ordinance was drafted in 2009, the Board received letters of protest from The California Restaurant Association, as well as Save the Plastic Bag Coalition, both stating they had not had enough time to review the proposed ordinance.  Consequently, a final vote will be taken by the Board on September 13.

We look forward to seeing our concerned citizens at upcoming meetings.  If you can’t attend, write letters of support.  Most importantly, make the commitment to stop using single-use plastic bags.
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