Aug 2 - Monterey County, Salinas Considering Plastic Bag Ordinances

Monterey County and the City of Salinas are taking steps toward restricting single-use plastic bags by drafting local ordinances. According to the, the County Board of Supervisors has directed the Department of Environmental Health to start preparing and Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The county’s ordinance would "severely restrict" single-use plastic bags and allow stores to sell paper and reusable bags.

The Salinas City Council has also directed its Public Works department to begin preparing an ordinance, similar to the county’s. The city is considering sharing the costs for the environmental study with the county.

Salinas’ Public Works Director Gary Petersen cited the city’s storm drain management as cause to move forward with the ordiance.

"The best way to move forward is to ban plastic bags," Petersen said.

There has been overwhelming public support for a plastic bag ordinance, a petition signed by 1,000 people was presented at the meeting. Only one person spoke in opposition.

One supporter brought up the cost of plastic bags.

He reminded the supervisors the paper and plastic bags are not free. Those costs are factored into the price of items sold by the retailer. People bringing their own reusable bags are still paying for the plastic and paper bags handed out to shoppers who don’t bring their own bags, he said.

Currently, 79 California communities are covered under ordinances restricting the distribution of single-use plastic bags; that’s one in three people. Restricting bags, which have a disproportionate impact on the environment because they virtually never degrade, is the best course of action in order to reduce plastic bag litter and plastic marine pollution.

Find out how to help your community adopt its own ordinance.

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