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Encinitas Council in support of statewide plastic bag ban

ENCINITAS — At Wednesday night’s meeting, council voted unanimously to update its legislative priorities for the next year. Those changes include supporting a statewide plastic bag ban. 

“I think it makes a lot of sense to support the statewide plastic bag ban; twice now they’ve come very close to having the ban and hopefully the third time is the charm,” Councilman Tony Kranz said.

Kranz also said the statewide ban would have the benefit of putting all of the California cities on the same page, preventing confusion over cities’ varying approaches to the ban.

The statewide legislation, introduced last month, would ban single-use carryout bags for large retailers in 2015, and then convenience stores and smaller businesses in 2016.

Resident Darius Degher said that Encinitas should back the state’s legislation, but he also said that the city should develop its own ban.

“We should continue to move forward with a local bag ban,” Degher said. “Because if we don’t, and the state measure fails due to inevitable pressure from the plastic industry, then Encinitas will not be able to do its part in this ecological matter.”

The Encinitas Environmental Commission has been researching the fiscal and environmental impacts of a local plastic bag ban. It will present its finding to council April 10 and ask for further direction.

In 2008, Encinitas moved to ban or place a fee on plastic bags with a 3-2 vote.

But the plastic-bag industry threatened litigation, arguing the city needed to complete an environmental impact report. Due to the cost of the environmental impact report, the city never adopted the ban.

Councilmembers also agreed that emphasizing railroad infrastructure in Encinitas should be part of its legislative priorities.