Plastic Bag Ban Takes Effect in Carmel-by-the-Sea
February 4, 2013
As of yesterday, Carmel-by-the-Sea now joins Monterey as a city where plastic shopping bags are not welcome.
Carmel's ban went into effect Feb. 3, six months after the City Council approved the ordinance. Unlike Monterey's ban, which imposes a $0.25 fee on paper bags (a fee now under re-examination by city staff), Carmel's allows merchants to hand out paper bags at no cost to their customers.
The two cities, along with Pacific Grove, began exploring bag bans almost two years ago because of the litter problem posed by thin plastic film along the region's beaches and highways.
Monterey and Carmel adopted their bans against the opposition of the plastic bag industry, which has sued other California cities over similar laws. Pacific Grove has not taken action yet.
The American Progressive Bag Alliance released a statement timed for the Feb. 3 start of Carmel's ban:
“Carmel-by-the-Sea’s plastic bag ban will not only hurt consumers’ pockets but also push them toward less sustainable alternatives," alliance chair Mark Daniels states. "Paper bags are a worse environmental option at checkout—using a large amount of water and emitting more greenhouse gases than plastic bags, and reusable bags cannot be recycled and are predominately imported from China."
Carmel Mayor Jason Burnett fires back in an email to the Weekly:
"I find it pretty amusing that the D.C. lobbyist and New York City spin artists for the chemical companies think they know what our community wants and needs better than our own elected leaders. When I worked at EPA, these same special interests argued against our work on greenhouse gas regulations, saying the federal government should defer to local government. Now they are arguing against local government. Guess what, chemical companies? You can't have it both ways. In fact, now that I think about it, they can't seem to get it right either way. EPA has regulated greenhouse gases and Carmel has banned plastic bags. Chemical companies 0, environment 2.
"Since the chemical companies seem willing to provide us advice on how to make important decisions for our community, here's some free advice in return. Pick your battles. This is not one you win."