Petaluma City Council members Monday night unanimously endorsed changes to a regional waste management agreement that would allow for the creation of a countywide ban on single-use plastic bags.
The ban on single-use plastic bags long sought by Sonoma County environmentalists is unlikely to materialize as a single countywide law but rather as a patchwork of similar, if not identical, local ordinances.
Local city and Sonoma County representatives sparred Wednesday over a recent snag in progress toward a countywide ban on single-use plastic bags.
A turf war has broken out in Santa Rosa over a proposed county bag ban. The City Council found itself torn Tuesday between those supporting a countywide ban on single-use plastic bags and those who don’t want to relinquish the city’s regulatory powers to another agency.
Sonoma County supervisors on Tuesday advanced a proposal to ban plastic bags now given out to shoppers at grocery and other retail stores, but called for a single ordinance that would apply countywide. The ban would start in July 2013 and apply to what are termed ‘single-use carryout bags.’ It would not extend to bags used to hold meat and vegetables, or apply to restaurants. It also would levy a 10-cent fee for paper bags, which merchants would collect and keep. That fee would rise to 25 cents a bag in 2014.
Sonoma County has taken a big step toward a countywide ban on plastic carryout bags to reduce landfill waste and litter. The county Waste Management Agency authorized its staff Wednesday to request proposals from consultants for environmental review of the proposed ban. Under the draft ordinance, all ‘retail establishments’ would be prohibited from providing ‘single-use carryout bags’ bags as of July 1, 2013.
Santa Rosa supports a countywide ban on single-use plastic bags, with a twist. While many of the eight other cities in Sonoma County support a single ordinance covering the entire county, Santa Rosa officials said Tuesday they’d like to maintain a measure of local control.
Forums held throughout Sonoma County on a proposal to ban plastic bags drew few participants, but those who did attend voiced near unanimous support. Only 75 people attended nine meetings held in each of Sonoma County’s cities in March. Of those, 70 people voiced support and five spoke in opposition.