Around Town | November 30, 2012 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - November 30, 2012

Around Town

BLOWIN' IN THE WIND ... Palo Alto's war against the plastic bag is about to mount its next campaign. The effort, which was spurred by the city's desire to keep local creeks clean, won a major victory in 2009 when the city adopted a ban on plastic bags at local supermarkets. Now, the city is considering its next battle: extending the ban from large grocery stores to all retail and food-service establishments, including restaurants, food trucks and convenience stores that sell food. The proposed ordinance would also require a minimum charge of 10 cents for each paper bag or reusable bag — a fee that would go up to 25 cents one year after ordinance adoption, according to an update email City Manager James Keene wrote to City Council last week. "Staff is seeking an ordinance expansion to further reduce plastic bag litter found in creeks and by the Bay, to help comply with a state regulation requiring 100 percent reduction in trash in local creeks by 2022, and to help meet City Zero Waste goals," Keene wrote. But not everyone is thrilled about the city's recent efforts to curb plastic bag use. The Save the Plastic Bag Coalition, an industry group, has been filing lawsuits against agencies that have adopted similar ordinances including, most recently, Santa Cruz County. The coalition also challenged the city's earlier ban on bags in supermarkets. The two sides reached a settlement after the city agreed to conduct a full environmental analysis before expanding the ban. Palo Alto has recently completed the study and is preparing to hold two public hearings on Thursday, Dec. 6, to discuss the new report and the city's proposal. The first meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. at the Cubberley Community Center, Room H-1, 4000 Middlefield Road. The second one will be held at 6 p.m. in the same location. Staff plans to bring the environmental report and the proposed ordinance to the City Council in February.

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