Tonight the Dana Point City Council will have a final reading of its plastic bag ordinance.
If adopted, the ordinance goes into effect for larger stores on April 1, 2013, and expands to all remaining stores (including restaurants) by October 1, 2013. Plastic bags would be prohibited, while reusable and paper bags would still be allowed. See the latest draft here.
Currently, no mandatory price requirement is attached on paper or reusable bags, although CAW hopes this doesn't remain the case. All single-use bags come with some environmental impact, and an endless supply of free reusable bags could eventually be viewed as single-use bags by the less discerning consumer. Even something as small as a 5 cent charge has been shown to reduce bag distribution by as much as 86% in Washington DC.
However, the City of Dana Point may be fearful of a Proposition 26 challenge that the price on paper or reusable bags is a tax. In fact, the County of Los Angeles has been sued for its inclusion of a 10 cent mandatory price on paper bags in its 2010 ordinance, and a hearing date is scheduled for March 15, 2012. It's possible that local jurisdictions who are intimidated by the threat of Prop 26 lawsuits may be waiting for a decision on the LA County case before moving forward.
But we would like to point out that a price requirement on paper bags, unlike a tax, is easily avoidable--just say "no" to the bag and you don't have to pay anything. You don't even have to bring an alternative bag if you don't need one--just walk out of the store with your purchases in your hands or shopping cart!
Please consider attending the meeting in support of the ordinance tonight. Thank the City Council for their environmental leadership, and ask them to include a charge on paper and reusable bags.
If you aren't available, take a few seconds to send in a support letter--or spend a few extra minutes to revise the template with your own thoughts. Take action here.
The City Council meeting starts at 6pm in the Council Chamber of the Dana Point City Hall (33282 Golden Lantern, Dana Point, CA). See the agenda here (item 10).