Pasadena explores nix on plastic shopping bags

It’s a long time until 2040, the date Pasadena, Calif., has set to achieve zero waste. The city sits atop current green kudos of which it can be proud, including Pasadena Water & Power customers using 15 percent less water in 2010 than the previous year, according to the Green City Report.

"Pack it in, pack it out," applies to daily urban living as well as to outdoor sojourns (Barbara Burns).

And it’s about to  wade into the plastic shopping bag ban. With bordering unincorporated area Altadena enforcing a ban on them in some markets in July, and all by 2012, the city’s environmental advisory committee meets tomorrow in special session to consider the topic.

After the 2012 deadline, Altadenans visiting the supermarket will have to stash their groceries in reusable bags or pay a dime for a paper one. (Plastic bags used for meat, poultry and fish will be exempt).

According to Jake Armstrong in the Pasadena Weekly, the committee seeks public comment on how best to craft the language of the ban, which would be based on L.A. County’s latest environmental impact report.

Trying to ban the bag without an environmental impact statement can lead a new ordinance to be overturned in the court system. That’s exactly what happened to Manhattan Beach’s ban in the California Court of Appeals in 2010.

“County officials estimate households use 1,600 bags a year and expected that figure to fall by half by 2013 and shave $4 million from cleanup costs,” according to Armstrong.

So far, single-use plastic bag bans have been approved in California in:

– Los Angeles County (unincorporated areas, of which Altadena is one)

— Long Beach

— Malibu

— Calabasas

– Marin County

– San Jose

The plastic bag has become a polarizing cry, with industry and libertarians crying “foul,” and the green movement pushing for an eventual blanket ban. Interesting trivia: they are called “witches britches” in England, apparently because of the way they unattractively flutter in the breeze.

See you on the river, Jim Burns

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One thought on “Pasadena explores nix on plastic shopping bags

  1. Pingback: Quick Mends: Unincorporated L.A. County bag ban « lariverflyfishing

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