SLO County’s proposed bag ban moving forward

July 18, 2011

Single-use paper and plastic bags could be banned at San Luis Obispo County’s larger grocery stores as early as Jan. 1, 2013, under an ordinance proposed by the county’s Integrated Waste Management Authority.

At an authority meeting last week, board members agreed the proposed ordinance would outlaw single-use plastic and paper bags at large grocery stores beginning in Jan. 2013, and then over a year long period, phase in all county businesses including dry cleaners. An exemption would be made for pharmaceuticals.

The board plans to continue refining the ordinance with a draft to go before the board on Sept. 14.

The proposal also requires that county retail stores sell reusable bags.

Proponents of the ordinance say plastic bags are an environmental hazard — ending up in waterways, poisoning marine life and polluting landfills.

The Atascadero City Council came to a consensus that it is against the proposed ordinance because some people may not be able to afford the reusable bags. In addition, councilman Jerry Clay noted plastic bags come in handy at dog parks.

Dozens of U.S. cities and counties now outlaw the use of plastic bags with some also restricting the use of paper bags. In addition, several retailers, such as Whole Foods, voluntarily stopped the use of plastic bags at all of their stores.

On Thursday, the California Supreme Court upheld the right of cities to ban plastic bags in a unanimous decision called a victory by environmentalists. The court ruled that local governments can ban plastic bags without conducting a full-scale environmental review.

Even so, a lawyer for plastic bag makers said the manufacturers would continue to sue municipalities that impose bans without environmental impact reports, the Los Angeles Times said.

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The bags are still allowed to be sold, correct? Local grocers should simply charge a penny apiece for the bags, and post a sign saying something like “Due to a recent ordinance passed by SLO county’s Integrated Waste Management Authority, we are now forced to charge you for bags. Here are the people responsible….” Then list all of the members who voted for the ordinance. Everyone can afford a penny a bag; we get to keep our bags, and people are made aware of who the approved the ordinance, and can vote accordingly.

Soon to be a typical day on any street corner in SLO

Pssst……Hey buddy, wanna buy some plastic shopping bags?