Here's our full . Share your thoughts below.
"Davis has adopted a Zero Waste Resolution striving to achieve zero waste by 2020. Many cities in California have banned or restricted distribution of single-use plastic bags by stores and/or imposed a fee on store-provided paper bags. Some cities have also restricted the use of non-recyclable or non-compostable food take-out containers. Would you support or oppose such restrictions in Davis?" -Sierra Club Yolano Group
We should consider GHG emissions in addition to aesthetic blight when drafting an ordinance regulating single-use bags. A wide range of policy options are available to achieve these goals, including bans on certain types of bags, fees on bags at the point of distribution, credits given at the point of distribution for reusable bags, and recyclable content standards for single-use bags.
An exemption to the ordinance should be included for liquor stores, pharmacies and restaurants and other non grocery retail businesses.
In 2010 AB 1998 was introduced by Assemblywoman Julia Brownley. Her bill was a good model. My preference would be to wait for the state or county to adopt a uniform ban on single-use bags before we adopt our own ordinance. But given the fact that it will not happen this year I think it is incumbent upon our city to craft an ordinance which can be a win-win for our environment and the economy.
I would certainly support measures to curb the use of single-use bags. No matter where one stands on this issue, I think we can all agree that such bags pose significant environmental and economic challenges. I commend the NRC for sparking a community dialogue on this issue and devising an ordinance to address it.
That being said, I think there may be a better way to go about addressing this issue, and that is to follow the lead of Washington, D.C., which implements a fee on single-use bags and then uses that fee to clean up the Anacostia River. Replace the Anacostia River with, say, Putah Creek and environmental education, and you have a makings of a good local policy, particularly considering that it fundamentally preserves consumer choice, addresses all single-use bags (paper and plastic), and does not provide a windfall to retailers. This idea has not been fully explored because current state law prohibits it, but that law is set to expire on January 1, 2013. I think we should seriously explore this fee option, which has also been endorsed by the Sierra Club.
Regardless, any ordinance cannot be burdensome; it must be sensible and involve input from businesses.
Single use plastic bags are an environmental nightmare. I would really like to see CA statewide plastic bag legislation that is consistent and easily implementable. (AB 298 failed on the CA Senate floor two years ago- for lack of enough Democrats’ votes.)
In lieu of a statewide ban, one way in moving toward a statewide law is to pass local regulations and once momentum is gained through the local legislation and best practices are known and unintended consequences are understood then passable legislation could be drawn up at the state level. The local ordinance that was just recommended for a CEQA review by the NRC has some good components and I generally support bag/styrofoam ordinances that are incentivizing in nature, not penalizing. A good example of this is in Ireland, where (in 2004) a roughly 10 cent fee was placed on each single use plastic bag used, and in one years time, there was a 95% reduction in usage of plastic bags in Ireland. We should examine doing that in Davis.
This current proposed ordinance does concern me with the requirements of tracking the bag use by the business. For example, the Davis Food Co-op, as leaders in reduction of waste from bag use (both paper and plastic) does not track at the POS at the checkout, but tracks based on orders, and this current proposed requirement seems unwieldy for businesses.
I would like to see the business community, including the DDBA and Chamber lead a proactive campaign, similar to “Keep Austin Weird” but around “Make Davis Green”, where they encourage new ways of thinking about our local businesses. I could see a reusable bag given away when a Downtown Gift Card is purchased, or reusable take home food containers where there are places that shoppers could put a deposit on a take out container, and return those for the deposit returned (clean or dirty) or for a new container. This is similar to the reusable container system that I helped institute at the Whole Earth Festival over 10 years ago. I know there are more ideas out there; I will listen to them and collaborate with you to find solutions that work.
When I was a child, plastic bags were not used, except for vegetables, and take-out food came in paper and cardboard. I don’t recall this ever being a problem. As a child, I remember thinking: “Hmmm…I guess they’re switching to plastic bags now. Weird.”
I try to remember to bring my reusable bags with me when I shop, and when I forget, I don’t mind using paper bags. On the other hand, I recognize that, like wood burning, this issue is particularly divisive and has created a lot of anger and anxiety on the part of many merchants and some citizens.
Many jurisdictions in California have already regulated single-use plastic bags. I think that it is very important to limit non-biodegradable waste to the extent possible. It is understandable that coastal cities have moved first when it comes to plastic bags since plastic bags used in coastal cities are more likely to end up in the ocean. I am also aware that plastic bags from Davis constitute a small fraction of the solid waste at the Yolo landfill. However, I respect that fact that CALPIRG has made this effort their number one priority, and it is an important step.
I hope that we can work with our merchants and citizens to craft a policy that most can live with. We really don’t need plastic bags; it has just become a habit.
Require businesses of all sizes (no exemptions) to charge 10 cents for disposable bags (paper or plastic). Implement rule after Jan 1, 2013, since the current state law prohibiting charging for plastic bags expires on Jan 1, 2013. I am not a fan of an outright ban on plastic bags. For many consumers, the plastic bag choice is the optimal choice.
Plastic bags and paper bags both have their environmental drawbacks. By charging for both types of bags, communities that have done this have found a dramatic reduction in uses of both. http://www.reuseit.com/learn-more/myth-busting/why-paper-is-no-better-than-plastic
I do not believe there is a need for an outright ban on either paper or plastic bags; charging for the bags should be sufficient to achieve the goals of reduction in resource use and a dramatic reduction in pollution (bag litter).
Yes, I would like take-out food containers to be compostable or recyclable. Polystyrene needs to be eliminated. Other cities all over CA have done this already: http://www.cawrecycles.org/issues/plastic_campaign/polystyrene/local
To follow future candidate responses: