San Luis Obispo County, California, made a decision Wednesday of last week to ban the distribution of plastic bags at most retail stores including super markets, pharmacies, and convenience stores.
The ordinance has already been threatened with litigation by the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition who immediately after the meeting said that they would file a law suit within 30 days.
The ban on plastic bags, which is set to take effect in October,will allow retailers to only distribute paper bags at 10 cents each. The ordinance was a result of months of lobbying from members of both sides of the issue and passed with a 8-5 vote by members of the San Louis Obispo Integrated Waste Management Authority.
The meeting had 80 speakers, 55 of which were in support of the ban. Environmentalists argued that plastic bags have created an immense problem and showed slide shows of suffering wildlife and polluted shorelines to demonstrate their point.
Their argument included the problem of the “Great Garbage Patch” which refers to the massive collection of plastic pollution in the Pacific ocean located between San Francisco and Hawaii.
Members of the California Grocers Association and representatives of local landfills spoke in favor of the proposal and said that plastic bags have been a problem for them as well.
Opponents of the ban argued that re-useable cloth bags can spread bacteria to grocery produce and are therefore unsanitary. In response to this claim, a representative of the Grocers Association said that there has never been a complaint about re-useable bags and bacteria.
Supporters of the ban pointed out that the opponents not only are members of the plastic bag and chemical industries but also have attempted to distract the Waste Management Authority by alluding to sanitation rather than addressing the real issue of waste management.
If you support the plastic bag ban, click here to pledge to stop using plastic bags!
Two girls who attended the meeting both part of the Surfrider club at their local high school.
Click here for more pictures from the meeting