The city of St. Helena, located in the heart of wine country, Napa County, California is in the process of passing an ordinance to control the use of single use plastic bags and styrofoam. The idea has been discussed during the past several City Council meetings.
The Climate Protection Task Force (CPTF), a sub-committee of the St. Helena City council, is charged with doing the leg work to create the ordinance. On November 27, 2009, Sandra Ericson, CPTF Secretary, prepared a background paper with draft ordinance information for regulation of plastic packaging.
In a letter to the city manager dated December 18, 2009, CPTF Chair Carol Troy, and Sandra Ericson, CPTF Secretary, asked that the City Council consider their request for the ordinance on an upcoming agenda. The City Manager then sent the letter and background information to the Mayor and City Council. At the regular meeting of the City Council on January 12, 2010, Sandra Ericson spoke to the council members about the matter.
“If you decide to pursue and pass these ordinances, it is a tangible way of bringing a new mindset to this town. This is not a vote for or against climate, per se. This is a vote that weighs health – health of the environment, health of human beings – against convenience’, stated Ms. Ericson. “It’s what you’re willing to give up for your health.”
Ms. Ericson further stated, “ This (plastic bags) is a habit of a convenience-addicted society. It is not a necessity to life. . . . It's a matter of changing behavior - no one is doing without.” She said that all stakeholders concerning this legislation would be contacted.
In further discussion among council members, each agreed that this would be a good ordinance and should be pursued. In reference to the CPTF’s question of should they continue to do staff work on the ordinance, the Mayor responded “I think we all agree Full Speed Ahead”.