July 6, 2013

Ban on Plastic Bag Ban Lifted

A plastic bag ban authorized by Marin County supervisors in 2011 was finally upheld by the 1st District Court of Appeal in San Francisco last week.

After a two-year legal battle, unincorporated Marin can now join the numerous California cities and counties that have banned plastic bans at grocery retailers.

About 40 retail stores will no longer use plastic bags and will impose a 5-cent paper bag charge. A total 450 stores will be under the ordinance once it is applied county wide.

The county supervisors’ original ban had been challenged by the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition, a group comprised mostly of plastic manufacturers and distributors. The group claimed that the ban was invalid because no environmental review was conducted. They further contended that the ban would have an adverse impact because more people would use paper products.

The Appellate Court rebuked the allegations made by plastic advocates, declaring, “the ordinance constitutes a regulation enacted for the purpose of protecting natural resources and the environment.” They also noted that the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition was unable to provide any evidence supporting the notion that the ban would cause further environmental harm.

The decision comes just one month after the City of Los Angeles made headlines by becoming the nation’s largest city to ban plastic bags in grocery stores. 

Currently, 56 plastic bag ordinances have been adopted that cover 77 cities and counties in California. California is well on its way to being plastic bag free, despite the lobbying efforts of the plastic industry.

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