SLO proposed bag ban speeding up
September 7, 2011
By JOSH FRIEDMAN
In a presentation before the San Luis Obispo City Council Tuesday night, Integrated Waste Management Association manager Bill Worell laid out a plan in which a county ban on single use plastic and paper bags would go into effect September 2012.
Previously slated to become law in January 2013, the proposed ordinance will be drafted by the Integrated Waste Management Association (IWMA) board on September 14.
The board is currently considering three different possibilities varying in tolerance for paper bags. Two of the three possibilities would require effected stores to sell bags for a nickel a piece to customers who do bring reusable ones.
If the ordinance becomes law, it will be rolled out in two stages. The first stage, beginning September 2012, will ban single-use plastic and paper bags in all grocery stores and in retail stores consisting of over 10,000 square feet and containing a pharmacy. Beginning in January 2013, the second phase will include all pharmacies, convenience stores and retail stores without pharmacies.
Following Worell’s presentation, a long public comment period ensued in which most speakers voiced their support for the proposed bag ban.
Two San Luis Obispo residents, however, took strong objection to the proposal.
“This is not a single use bag ban. That’s ridiculous,” said Kevin Rice. “What comes in every box of cereal? A plastic bag. What is in every trashcan in this building? A plastic bag. There’re plastic bags all over this world.”
“Are we going to have bag police?” asked Gary Fowler. “Are you going to go around in the stores and issue citations if they don’t comply with the size of bags and type of bags?”
Despite the proposed inconsistencies in enforcement, other San Luis Obispo residents were quick to shrug off any and all reasons to rethink the bag ban.
“There’s gonna be some grumbling,” said Brian Engleton. “But, it makes sense.”
Echoing the need to act on the issue, the city council voiced unanimous support for the IWMA enacting some sort of ban on single-use bags.
One member of the council, vice mayor John Ashbaugh, represents San Luis Obispo on the IWMA board.
“I think [the proposed ordinance] is important and symbolic,” Ashbaugh said. “It may make a difference in just the way people approach the way they go about their daily lives.”
Once crafted on September 14, the county ordinance will be scheduled for readings on November 9 and January 11, 2012.