March 7, 2012 - The City of Dana Point, California, USA passed an ordinance last night which prevents the distribution of plastic carry-out bags. The City Council passed the ordinance by a 4-1 vote.
Providing an 18-month exemption for small business, the ordinance takes effect April 1st, 2013 for businesses that generate over $4 million in annual sales and October 1st, 2013 for other business.
The City said the proposed ban is exempt from CEQA but that it had prepared an Initial Environmental Study. The City also prepared and adopted a Negative Declaration pursuant to California law.
Affecting all retailers, the ordinance declares that no affected retail establishment shall provide plastic carry-out bags to customers at the point of sale. The ordinance did not set a fee for other type bags but strongly encouraged retailers to provide incentives to customers who use reusable bags and to charge for each paper bag distributed at the point of sale.
Restaurants will be exempt from the ordinance. According to Stephen L. Joseph, council for Save The Plastic Bag Coalition, it is unlawful to place a fee on bags provided by restaurants. Joseph says that the California Retail Food Code prohibits any such ban. With permission from Mr. Joseph, here is a link to the Coalition’s Legal Memorandum. Read and decide for yourself.
Dana Point is located in Orange County on the southern coast of California. Learn more at the website of Dana Point.