Dubuque, Iowa is a long way from California. Although not on the ocean, it is located on another body of water: The Mighty Mississippi River.
Problem in common? Plastic bags.
The Environmental Stewardship Advisory Committee (ESAC) is part of the City of Dubuque's government. The ESAC's goals include to advise the Council and Educate on environmental issues and promote Environmental Stewardship.
At ESAC's meeting on July 6th, Wayne Klostermann distributed a printed PowerPoint presentation from National Geographic News, September 2, 2003, regarding data released by the US EPA on plastic bags from retail establishments. The Commission discussed research from Ireland, San Francisco and other facts about plastic bag policies in various communities.
After discussion, Ed Cawley moved to recommend the City Council adopt a policy of phasing out/minimizing the use of plastic bags in retail applications through the use of a user fee or incentive to use alternatives. Mike Buelow seconded the motion. Motion was passed by a 4-0 roll call vote. A letter will be written to City Council explaining the motion, the phase in approach, and the goal to eliminate the use of retail plastic bags by 2014.
At its regular meeting on September 7th, Dubuque's City Council received the request from the Environmental Stewardship Advisory Committee. The Chairman, Mr. Wayne Klosterman requested that the City encourage retailers not to use petroleum-based plastic bags and that the City adopt a policy of recommending the phasing out of the use of plastic bags.
It is interesting to note that ESAC made their decision on July 6th and on July 19th, the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) named Dubuque, Iowa as one of its "2010 Smarter Cities". A plastic bag ban would be a fitting decision for a Smarter City.