Save The Plastic Bag May Sue Marin County, California

Save The Plastic Bag has until December 14th, 2011, to file an appeal against the single use plastic bag ban that Marin County, California has been trying to implement since January 2011. Marin County’s ordinance 3553 bans single use plastic bags at grocery stores, pharmacies and convenience stores in unincorporated Marin county and requires a 5-cent fee on single use paper bags. The county planned to implement the new ordinance in January of 2012 which is designed to slow down the plastic bag pollution and promote the use of reusable and recyclable shopping bags.

One of the issues Save The Plastic Bag brought up in their lawsuit filed in February of this year (case #CIV110096) against Marin County was that they did not feel that it was realistic or fair to ask citizens to carry around reusable shopping bags where ever they went. According to Carol Misseldine, Director at Green Cities California, “There has been a steady increase in the number of people who bring their bags since I started working on this issue in 2006. It was about 5% then – about 25% now. I don’t hear much grumbling, but I don’t have hard data.”

Reusable shopping bags are becoming more and more popular throughout California as cities like San Francisco, Malibu, Fairfax, Palo Alto, unincorporated parts of Los Angeles, Calabasas, Long Beach and Santa Monica have already implemented plastic bans. Each city has different qualifiers on the ban such as San Franciso’s ban applies to supermarkets and large chain pharmacies, but Malibu’s ban applies to all retailers and restaurants. Making a habit of using eco-friendly reusable shopping bags as a general rule will help shoppers alleviate having to understand the different qualifiers of each ban and make the change easier to make.

Other cities in California that have adopted movements but have not implemented a plastic ban are Manhattan Beach, San Jose, Marin County, Santa Clara County and Santa Cruz County. Oakland has adopted a ban but due to their current lawsuit from Save The plastic Bag, they have not implemented the ban yet. Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties are currently holding final hearings and have an adoption scheduled, and over 50 other cities and counties in California are in formal and informal discussions about plastic bag bans.

Save The Plastic Bag has until December 14th to file their appeal against Marin County against the single use plastic bag ban that has been implemented. However, will their appeal be able to hold back the growing eco movement and people’s choices to make better decisions for our environment? The increases observed by Green Cities California in the number of people using reusable bags over the last several years seems to demonstrate a community commitment to the environment. Reusable bags are the most common alternative to paper or plastic and require small behavior modifications that based on local feedback many are more than willing to make. California is not the only state to implement these changes. States like Texas, Oregon, Massachusetts, Colorado and numerous others are following suit.

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