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San Diego Moves Toward A Plastic Bag Ban

— A San Diego city council committee is drawing up an ordinance that could restrict single use plastic bags in the city. Solana Beach is the only local community that has taken that action so far.

Aired 9/12/13 on KPBS News.

San Diego could become one of the largest California cities to enact a ban on single use plastic bags. A city council committee is drawing up an ordinance.

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The city council's rules committee is asking staff to look into the idea and then draw up the rules that could be voted on in October. Councilwoman Sherri Lightner wants the ordinance to ban the bags at grocery stores and other large retail outlets. There would be exceptions for nonprofits, restaurants and a few others.

Lightner said a ban makes sense because city officials have come to her complaining about the hidden costs of the bags.

"They have a cost associated with dealing with these plastic bags at the landfill," said Lightner. "And then there's the cost of the bags in the storm water system, on the streets, roads and in our parks."

San Diego is poised to become the largest California city to enact this kind of law. Environment California's Nathan Weaver said the idea of a state wide ban was narrowly defeated twice in Sacramento.

"We've seen this measure come up in the California legislature and unfortunately its never been able to clear the California senate," Weaver said. "But I think that's why these different cities and counties have moved forward to ban plastic bags on their own."

California lawmakers are widely expected to take up the issue again after the first of the year.

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