The Supervisory Board of Monterey County is reconsidering a previously approved plan to conduct an environmental review on a countywide plastic bag ban. The state has proposed a legislation to ban plastic bag use in grocery, convenience and drug stores, which is expected to come into force by September 1.

County Thinking over the Best Option

Since the chances of a statewide bag ban are high, the County Board is reconsidering its ban. The proposed state ban will disallow the use of plastic bags in grocery and convenience stores, including drug stores. It will also impose a 10 percent fee on reusable bags made from recycled plastic or paper. Some retailers would be exempt from this legislation.

The county board has been presented with three options.
The first option involves employing an environment specialist and performing an EIR (Environment Impact Review). This would allow the board county and neighboring cities to maintain control over the proposal. Also, the state legislation would have to pass a local ordinance, preferably before September 1, a failure in which would result in a loss of $50,000 for the county, and discourage cities to participate and fund the EIR.

The second option requires the board to hire a consultant to make ordinances for the local cities and county, through voluntarily conducted research and findings. This option would be less expensive, and will help maintain local control without having to wait for the statewide ban on September 1.

The third option would be for the county board to wait for the enactment of the statewide ban, which would be consistent and cost-free, but would disallow local control and lead to confusion regarding the exemptions as per the state legislation. Arguments suggest that the reusable bags would also cause environmental pollution, as they are just thicker forms of the current plastic bags.

How Can Companies Support the Ban with Promotional Reusable Bags?

Multinational companies can support the ban by conducting workshops and training programs within the workplace to educate their employees, as well as outsiders, about the environmental hazards. They can also teach about the adverse impacts that plastic bags have on the environment. They can encourage people to use promotional reusable bags. Businesses can organize recycling programs in schools too, which can help children in understanding the importance of giving up on plastic bags.