County considers ban on bags



You could have been reading an amusing quip about paper or plastic here, but Bob Cuddy at the Trib stole my lead.

On July 13, the San Luis Obispo County Integrated Waste Management Authority (IWMA) laid the groundwork for a ban on all single-use paper and plastic bags in local stores.

If approved, the local ban would prevent all supermarkets that do more than $2 million in annual business from giving customers the purportedly environmentally unfriendly bags. According to early language, stores that continue to clog landfills with disposable bags could be hit with misdemeanor penalties and fines of $1,000 for every day they’re in violation.

The local ordinance was first introduced in 2006, but has been put on hold because most municipalities that have enacted bans—Oakland and Manhattan Beach, for example—have also been brought to court. However, said IWMA Manager Bill Worrell, a recent California Supreme Court decision has cleared the path to ban bags.

The IWMA Board of Directors is set to review the ordinance again on Sept. 14, with a second reading in November. If it passes without changes, the ordinance could go into effect in July 2012.

Worrell said there hasn’t been much local backlash against the proposal. The SLO Chamber of Commerce approves of the idea, he said. If enacted, the ordinance would affect about 60 local businesses.

If all the bags used in SLO County were laid end to end, there would be enough to stretch to Sacramento and back every day, Worrell said.

Instead of the single-use carrying methods, stores would provide reusable bags for sale to customers, which is already a requirement under state law.

Add a comment