SOLANA BEACH — Paper or plastic will no longer be options at grocery stores, food vendors, pharmacies and city facilities beginning Aug. 9, when a new law aimed at reducing single-use plastic bags takes effect in the county’s second smallest city.
Three months from then, the bags won’t be available at retail establishments, other vendors and nonprofit merchants either.
Council members unanimously adopted the initial ordinance May 9, but agreed to phase the implementation to allow businesses time to adjust to the new law.
Restaurants were specifically exempted in July. Of the approximately 460 licensed retail businesses in Solana Beach, about 160 annually distribute around 6.5 million single-use, disposable carry-out bags to their customers.
The law applies to any bag, provided at the point of sale, less than 2.25 millimeters thick made mostly of plastic derived from petroleum or biobased sources, such as corn. Paper bags can be used but businesses must charge customers 10 cents each.
Product bags used for items such as produce, meat, poultry or dry cleaning, as well as plastic newspaper bags, are not included. Also exempt are customers participating in state supplemental programs, such as the one for women, infants and children. Anyone who can demonstrate undue hardship will be granted a one-year exemption.
Violators can be fined up to $1,000. Contact the city’s code enforcement department at (858) 720-2414 or twarden@cosb to report a business not in compliance.
A reusable bag giveaway and education event will be held at Vons, Sprouts and CVS from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 4 and at various churches on Aug. 5. Contact Danny King at (858) 720-2477 for information on those programs.
Reusable bags should be washed as often as one would clean towels or a cutting board. It is recommended that different styles of bags be designated for specific items, such as meat and poultry products, dry goods and produce.
Not all reusable bags are machine washable. Shoppers should check the labels for disinfecting and cleaning instructions.