Sonoma County’s 21-year-old composting program could be scrapped if water quality regulators don’t back off a threat to impose stiff fines for runoff that has been fouling a creek near the county’s central landfill for years.
For Sonoma County shoppers, the days of choosing between between paper and plastic bags at checkout lines are officially coming to an end.
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.
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 supervisors are set to extend a composting services contract for four months, a period during which ratepayers will pay $120,000 more than they would have under a contract proposed in June. The contract is between the county’s Waste Management Agency and Sonoma Compost, the company that handles composting services on 27 acres at the Mecham Road landfill.
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.
Sonoma County waste management officials are advancing a countywide push to ban carry-out plastic bags. Last year, the county Board of Supervisors and seven of the county’s nine cities supported the effort. The two remaining cities, Santa Rosa and Rohnert Park, have indicated they might join in.
A proposed county-wide ban on carry-out plastic bags gained a little more traction this week as Windsor became the second city in Sonoma County to endorse the idea. The council unanimously agreed that discontinuing use of the plastic bags, which are ubiquitous at grocery stores, is good for the environment and reducing litter.