City councils in California's Laguna Beach and Dana Point vote to outlaw plastic single-use bags from retail outlets; Dana Point's does not include a fee for paper bags but a separately adopted ordinance bans PS containers

LOS ANGELES , February 10, 2012 () –

Dana Point and Laguna Beach, both in California, approved ordinances banning businesses from providing single-use plastic carryout bags at separate meetings on Feb. 7, reported the Orange County Register on Feb. 8.

Laguna Beach’s ordinance, which exempts plastic produce bags, will have to be modified due to changes presented at the meeting and resubmitted for council approval. If approved, the ban would take effect Jan. 1.

At its meeting, Dana Point City Council also approved a ban on polystyrene (PS) containers. Laguna Beach has outlawed PS takeout containers since 2008, the Orange County Register reported.

One of the differences in the two cities’ plastic bag bans is that Laguna Beach stipulates that businesses charge US$0.10 for each paper bag they hand out, but Dana Point decided not to include such a requirement due to fear of litigation.

Dana Point Mayor Lara Anderson suggested possibly amending the city’s ban by including a paper-bag fee after March 15, when a court will hear a case in which Los Angeles County is being sued by Save the Plastic Bag Coalition.

The coalition is charging that the county’s $0.10 fee on paper bags constitutes a tax, and new taxes must be approved by two-thirds of the electorate, reported the Orange County Register.

Save the Plastic Bag Coalition is also suing several California cities over their bans on plastic bags. It is questioning Laguna Beach’s authority to prohibit restaurants from using plastic bags, and Dana Point officials received a similar letter.

Laguna Beach attorney Phil Kohn said he hopes to make a paper-bag fee recommendation to the city council by the time it considers the second reading of the proposed plastic bag ban.

Plastic bags have been banned to some extent in over 20 Californian cities. In Orange County, Huntington Beach is studying the environmental impacts of passing such an ordinance, while San Clemente is to discuss it at a meeting on Feb. 15.

The primary source of this article is the Orange County Register, Santa Ana, California, on Feb. 8, 2012.

 

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