*Correction: The original version of this article incorrectly stated what types of bags retailers would be able to provide and charge for following Oct. 1. The correct information is below—retailers can provide recycled paper bags and reusable bags after Oct. 1 at a cost of 10 cents per bag, should the ordinance pass. Thank you to reader Frank Geefay for catching the error.
To ban or not-to-ban the ubiquitous plastic bag—that is the question before the Cupertino City Council at Tuesday night’s meeting.
Community members got a chance to learn more and speak out at a public meeting Jan. 9 where some hailed the proposed ordinance that will ban most retailers from giving out single-use plastic bags for free.
Speakers on both sides of the issue let their voices be heard.
“Any little thing we can do to make this a better world for everybody, like a plastic (bag) ban. So that it helps the environment, it helps wildlife,” said Shirley Lin Kinoshita.
The ordinance encourages shoppers to carry their own reusable bags to stores, but some believe reusable bags aren’t the best solution.
“There is a serious health risk if people reuse their bags,” said Rusty Britt.
To fall in line with a litter reduction plan to completely eliminate litter from landing in water ways by 2022, Cupertino was among 24 cities to join San Mateo County’s Environmental Impact Review on banning single-use bags.
A number of cities including Los Altos and Mountain View passed a single-use bag ban recently and neighboring cities such as San Jose and Sunnyvale implemented their bans in 2012 effecting Cupertino residents who shop at stores on the border of Cupertino.
The City held an informational meeting for businesses on Jan. 8 at which only a handful of business owners attended.
“We’ve been planning on getting rid of plastic bags anyway,” said Guadalupe Rall, owner of Shirt Madness in Vallco. “People bring their own canvas bags.”
Shirt Madness will most likely take advantage of the ban and start selling canvas bags with its own logo on it.
It would be like additional advertising to see people walk around the city carrying Shirt Madness bags, Wayne Rall said.
Certain businesses and nonprofits are exempt from the single-use ordinance. Businesses such as Bitter+Sweet, whose owner Janice Chua attended the meeting, will not be subject to the ordinance since more than 90 percent of her business comes from food sales.
Other exemptions include businesses such as dry cleaners, bags used for meat and produce at grocery stores, restaurants, and bags used to carry prepared food at stores such as Whole Foods.
The ordinance would go into effect Oct. 1 at which time about 275 retailers subjected to the rule would start charging ten cents for *recycled paper or reuseable bags. The cost would increase on Jan. 1, 2015. Citations and fines would be assessed for retailers who do not comply.
The city has prepared an outreach campaign to help educate residents and businesses in the city on all aspects of the ordinance including what constitutes a reusable bag and tips on how to remember to bring a reusable bag when shopping.
The City is also set to explore getting rid of Styrofoam containters in city limits as well.
Tuesday’s City Council meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:45 p.m. For more information on the bag ordinance visit http://www.Cupertino.org/reusebags.
Additional reporting was done by Brenda Norrie.
Read more on the bag ban here on Cupertino Patch:
Council Inches Toward Plastic Bag Ban
The Paper Vs. Plastic Bag Fight: Does Canvas Win?