Last month, the Calabasas City Council held a meeting to discuss the progress of its single-use bag ordinance. The ordinance first became effective in July of 2011.
The bag ordinance bans single-use plastic bags and requires a 10 cent charge on single-use paper bags. It applied only to larger Calabasas grocery stores until January of this year, when the second phase included smaller retailers. Despite education outreach efforts by the city, some shoppers were taken unaware by the ordinance's expansion.
But overall the transition has been smooth, and as evidenced by the meeting where over 15 people provided input, support for the ordinance is strong. According to the Acorn, Calabasas resident Dale Reicheneder initially opposed the ordinance. But months into its implementation, he’s noticing the behavioral change in using less bags, and was quoted as saying, "I learned from it and I think I’m better for it."
Retailers are also on board. The California Grocers Association said they were "comfortable" with the ordinance, and Albertsons’ representative Rick Crandall pointed out: "Most customers don’t understand that bags have never been free."
In the past and in jurisdictions without a bag ordinance, the bag costs are passed on to consumers through higher grocery prices, but these types of ordinances help remove the hidden price and place it only on those consumers who want to use single-use bags.
The City will revisit the ordinance in another six months, and CAW will be there to continue supporting it.