Oceanside postpones plastic bag ban

OCEANSIDE — Oceanside City Council said “not now” to implementing a single-use plastic bag ban on Oct. 21. The motion to ban plastic bags failed, with Councilmen Jerry Kern, Jack Feller and Councilwoman Esther Sanchez voting no.

Restricting single-use plastic bags is part of the city’s zero waste plan. The goal to do away with single use bags has been on the books for three years.

Councilman Chuck Lowery said he wants to move forward with a ban. He said despite the promise that plastic bags will be recycled, most end up in landfills or oceans.

He added plastic bags are eaten by marine life that mistake the plastic as food and causes animals to starve.

The council majority said it would be better to wait until a state referendum on single-use bags is adopted next November.

Kern said passing rules now could lead to confusion for area shoppers who can choose plastic bags with purchases in some North County cities, but must bring their own bags in other cities.

“It’s a little premature,” Kern said.

Speakers at the meeting were split on supporting the idea.

Jimmy Knott, Utilities Commission vice chair, said he was ready to implement a ban.

Margaret Malik, Oceanside resident, said she opposed the ban and the inconvenience it would cause shoppers.

“I’m so tired of the government telling us what to do,” Malik said. “I don’t want to go to the store and wash bags.”

Other comments ranged from the fun of sewing together reusable bags from biodegradable burlap, to the practice of reusing store plastic bags, which lessens the urgency to ban them.

Feller said his family finds multiple ways to reuse store plastic bags.

“It’s a vital tool in the household,” Feller said.

Councilwoman Esther Sanchez recommended the Utilities Commission form a subcommittee to look at regional practices, and launch an education campaign.

“I would like to see something more about the bottom up, than the top down,” Sanchez said. “I know there is a lot of support.”

The cities of Solana Beach and Encinitas have plastic bag bans in place. Solana Beach implemented its ban in 2012. Encinitas began its ban in April.

According to ballotopedia.org Encinitas is the only San Diego County city that has stated its support for the state Plastic Bag Ban Referendum SB270.

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