SLO County plastic bag ban still on course
November 10, 2011
A planned ban on so-called single-use plastic bags used by retailers moves toward a final vote next year following a spirited and well-attended meeting of the San Luis Obispo County Integrated Waste Management Board (IWMB) Wednesday.
Faced with an opportunity to drive a stake into the proposal’s heart, the board instead voted 7-5 to allow the debate to continue until Jan. 11, when the same body will make a final determination on its fate.
If eventually approved, the bag ban would outlaw the use of the plastic bags by businesses, which could sell paper bags for a dime and encourage the use of cloth bags. The hope is that such bags would be reused often, then recycled; the dime would reimburse retailers for costs incurred.
Funding much of the local battle to kill the ordinance is the Washington, D.C.-based American Chemistry Council (ACC), a plastics industry lobbying group. The extensive reach of the council’s political influence, reported on this website on Aug. 21, was illustrated when it managed to convince California school officials to edit a new environmental curriculum to include positive messages about plastic shopping bags.
Mike Brown, who represents the Coalition of Labor, Agriculture and Business, is the local face of the ban opposition. Also active is a group calling itself KeepBagsFreeSLO.com, which is simply a spinoff of the ACC. Julie Soderlund, of the Sacramento-based public relations firm Wilson-Miller Communications, is the press contact for KeepBagsFreeSLO.com. She was deputy campaign manager for Carly Fiorina’s unsuccessful race for the U.S. Senate, and an adviser and press aide to former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, according to her website.
The ACC is fighting growing sentiment against use of non-reusable plastic bags and increasing interest nationally by local waste management regulators.