Oceanside’s plastic bag ban efforts taking root

OCEANSIDE — Oceanside’ Green Team is on a mission to share information on the environmental harm of single-use plastic bags and how the city can reduce their use.

The team has made presentations to the Chamber of Commerce, MainStreet Oceanside and homeowner associations, and will continue to present information to community groups through February.

The workshops are aimed to educate and collect community input to shape an ordinance that will best suit the city and address impacts the ban could have on small and large businesses.

Colleen Foster, city solid waste and recycling management analyst, said community feedback on adopting a bag ban has been positive, with some people asking why a ban has not already been adopted.

“There has been a lot of support,” Foster said.

The city’s Zero Waste Strategic Resource Management Plan, which was adopted three years ago, calls for a single-use plastic bag ban.

Business members of Green Oceanside Business Network got a heads up at earlier network meetings that a bag ban would be developed.

Foster said the city ban will be drafted to mirror the Senate Bill 270 state bag ban, approved in 2014.

Single-use carry out bags will be banned from store distribution.

The ban will not include small produce bags.

A bag fee of 10 cents or more, to encourage shoppers to bring reusable bags, would go back to stores to cover the cost of providing recyclable paper bags.

Stores would also be required to offer reusable bags for purchase.

“For plastic to meet the ban it needs to be able to be reused 125 times,” Foster said. “Using a bag once or twice has an extreme impact on resources and waterways.”

David Nydegger, chamber president and CEO, said news of a bag ban was well received by Chamber members.

“There were major retailers in the room who use a lot of plastic bags, and they’re good with it too,” Nydegger said. “People need to be educated. This is a good thing to do.”

Gumaro Escarcega, MainStreet program manager, said there were no objections to a bag ban from those who heard the Green Team presentation at this month’s MainStreet Morning Meeting.

The city bag ban will likely begin with large grocery stores, and may expand to include smaller stores over time. Foster said the final ordinance is up to stakeholder input.

City staff will introduce a bag ban ordinance to the Utilities Commission in February, and to City Council in March.

There are 145 California cities that have adopted a single-use plastic bag ban, including Solana Beach and Encinitas.

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