City council in Dana Point, California, votes to ban plastic shopping bags, but leaves out restaurants and paper bag fee due to pending lawsuits elsewhere, gives small business six months beyond April 1, 2013 effective date to conform

LOS ANGELES , March 8, 2012 () –

A ban on plastic shopping bags was approved in a 4-1 vote of the Dana Point City Council in California on March 6, reported The Orange County Register on March 7.

The ordinance will take effect on April 1, 2013, although small businesses with annual sales revenue of less than US$4 million will have a six-month exemption to clear up their remaining stock of plastic bags.

Due to pending litigation in other parts of the state, Dana Point’s ordinance is less restrictive than originally proposed. Restaurants have been excluded and a fee on paper bags has been taken out, The Orange County Register reported.

In a letter to the city in February, the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition threatened a lawsuit if Dana Point’s ban applied to restaurants. Santa Cruz County was sued by the San Francisco-based group and had to exempt restaurants from its ban.

Los Angeles County is being sued over its fee on paper bags by Hilex Poly Co., a large plastics manufacturer that claims the fee is an illegal tax. Many jurisdictions have imposed the fee to encourage use of reusable bags, The Orange County Register reported.

Dana Point City Council members said they might consider amending the plastic bag ordinance after all of the ongoing lawsuits in the state have been settled.

Dana Point Councilman Bill Brough, who was the only council member that voted against the plastic bag ban, had offered an anti-littering ordinance as an alternative, on Feb. 21.

Last month, the council adopted a ban on polystyrene foam food containers, effective this August, reported The Orange County Register.

The primary source of this article is The Orange County Register, Santa Ana, California, on March 7, 2012.

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