Plastic bag ban reintroduced

 

DEL MAR — A ban on single-use plastic bags in the county’s smallest city is now expected to take effect around June 16, about two months later than originally planned.

A proposed ordinance was introduced on Feb. 16. Normally the new law would have been presented for a second reading and adopted at the following meeting on March 7, with implementation starting one month later.

But changes made during the February hearing were not reviewed by all stakeholders, and members of the business community voiced concerns about the implementation of certain aspects of the requirements.

As a result the city did not proceed with the second reading. Officials then met with the stakeholder groups to address issues raised by the Sustainability Advisory Board and the business community.

One of the main concerns was that because the ordinance was modeled after Solana Beach’s it was more suited to big-box retailers, grocery stores and national retail chains found in that neighboring city rather than smaller, independent, tourist-based retail businesses commonly seen in Del Mar.

The major change to the new law is that plastic bags that are at least 2.25 mils thick can be used as reusable bags.

A second reading of the revised ordinance is scheduled for adoption May 16 but the new law will be implemented in phases.

Grocery stores, pharmacies, city facilities, nonprofit vendors and all other retail establishments will have six months to comply. Restaurants, food vendors, catering food trucks and the farmers

market will have one year.

The ban will not be applicable to the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

To encourage shoppers to carry reusable bags, stores can provide paper bags but they must charge at least 10 cents for each one.

Violators will be fined $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second offense within one year and $500 for each additional violation within one year.

Planned outreach efforts include signage, information on the city website, screening a documentary that describes the environmental effects of plastic and distributing free reusable bags.

The city will use $2,000 from the solid-waste recycling fund to buy the giveaway bags and pay for the rights to show “Bag It: Is Your Life Too Plastic?”

The Del Mar Village Association has also expressed interest and willingness to host a plastic bag recycling receptacle at their office.

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