The proposal to ban plastic bags in the City of San Diego is moving forward but not before the city conducts an environmental impact report.
According to a city notice, San Diego's Planning Department is requiring a full environmental review of the plastic-bag ordinance due to the "significant environmental impacts" the ban will have on air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, agricultural resources, and water quality.
As currently proposed, the ban prohibits the use of single-use plastic bags at the point of sale at all retail shops with over $2 million in annual sales as well as at all supermarkets, drugstores, and convenience stores. In place of plastic, the ordinance requires that retailers offer customers reusable bags for free or at a cost and single-use recycled paper bags at ten cents a pop.
Currently 139 municipalities throughout the state have adopted similar ordinances. San Francisco was the first major city in the nation to adopt a citywide ban on plastic in 2007. In San Diego County, things have moved a bit slower; Encinitas is the only city in the county to place a ban on plastic. The ordinance went into effect on April 10 at major retailers.
Similar efforts to ban plastic bags at the state level have occurred as well. In September 2014, governor Jerry Brown approved legislation that would have banned single-use plastic bags. The law, set to go into effect in July, was put on hold after a referendum funded largely by the plastic-bag industry forced lawmakers to place the bill on the November 2016 ballot. In the meantime, San Diego will move forward with its own ban.
The city's planning department will hold a scoping meeting on Wednesday, June 3, at RHC Auditorium (9601 Ridgehaven Court, Kearny Mesa, 92123).