For a while, local bans on single-use plastic bags seemed to be picking up speed like – well, plastic bags in the wind. The city of Monterey enacted the first in 2012, Carmel-by-the-Sea followed in early 2013, and Pacific Grove appeared ready to sign on third.
Then, like litter on a tree branch, it got snagged. A city survey showed almost two-thirds of P.G. business owners oppose a plastic bag ban hitched to the paper-bag fee that pushes shoppers toward reusable bags.
Although 83 California jurisdictions have banned plastic bags, those without accompanying paper-bag fees are more often sued by the plastics industry.
The local momentum, however, has picked up. In July Monterey County supervisors voted to move forward with paperwork that helps protect local bag bans from litigation. Six weeks later, Salinas councilmembers indicated they’d like to be in on it, too.
The environmental impact report (EIR) will cover the unincorporated county and the 11 cities that have not yet adopted bans. That will allow Salinas and P.G. to chip in a population-based share of the roughly $50,000 EIR cost and use it for their own ordinances.