News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

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Encinitas to consider plastic-bag ban

After Solana Beach’s City Council adopted an ordinance a year ago to ban single-use plastic shopping bags, Encinitas is looking to place the same ban on a future agenda.

Last year, Solana Beach became the first city in the county to enact such a ban, placing the city on the map along with more than 70 cities and counties in California adopting such an ordinance.

The ban applies to all grocery stores making at least $2 million in annual revenue, including pharmacies and retailers with at least 10,000 square feet of store space.

According to Encinitas Councilman Tony Kranz, back in 2008, the city of San Diego tried to enact the single-use bag ban ordinance, but it was put on hold because of litigation from other cities and the bag industry, the argument being that the city needed to do more research before establishing the ban.

Now, Encinitas’ City Council is moving forward by analyzing the pros and cons of banning plastic bags. But according to Kranz, during the analysis, it was found that the best solution was no bags at all.

“I think it’s important to recognize the health risks involved in plastic, but I don’t know how critical banning plastic bags really is,” Encinitas resident Keilani Ogan said. “It seems like a cop-out for businesses to make more money.”

The ordinance requirements include a charge of 10 cents for the paper bags replacing plastic bags at local supermarkets — the 10 cents going back to the business. Recently, Solana Beach had a vast amount of requests to wave the fee, but as of today the fee remains.

“Yes, 10 cents is a small fee and you can find a dime on the ground if you look hard enough, but that adds up, and as a college student living in an already rough economy, I need every dime I make,” Ogan said.

Solana Beach and former Encinitas resident Ellen Wright said Encinitas is a very eco-conscious community and has no doubt her neighbors will be very tolerant of the new changes made to benefit the sustainability of the city.

Kranz said residents could cross into neighboring cities to avoid paying the 10-cent fee, however.

“Carlsbad doesn’t have the single-use bag ban and customers might make a trip over there to save those 10 cents,” Kranz said.

Carla Mercado, an employee at a Ralphs supermarket on Montezuma Road in San Diego, said the store tries to promote the use of reusable bags, and in her opinion a ban on plastic bags would not affect the business.

EDCO, a waste collection and recycling company in Southern California, along with most businesses in Encinitas, are in support of a ban, according to Kranz.

“I think it’s a good approach, even though my preference would be that the whole state implemented the ban,” Kranz said. “But I don’t see the state passing this anytime soon.”

Kranz said he expected the ordinance to be listed on the next City Council meeting agenda, but right now the council’s priority is to focus on the budget.

As of April 12, the City Council meeting agenda for April 17 did not list the ban for discussion. City Council agendas can viewed as they are posted at webcasts.encinitasca.gov.

“In Encinitas, the bag ban will be everywhere,” Kranz said.

Ana Ceballos is a San Diego freelance writer

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Encinitas to consider plastic-bag ban