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More San Diego Groups Add To Debate Over Proposed Plastic Bag Ban

A local group representing grocery, convenience and liquor stores is speaking out against the plastic bag ban being considered by San Diego City Council.

A local group representing grocery, convenience, and liquor stores is speaking out against the plastic bag ban being considered by San Diego City Council.

The San Diego City Council is considering adopting a policy that would ban single-use plastic bags, but a group that represents San Diego’s neighborhood markets is speaking out against the proposed plan.

The Council’s Rules and Economic Development Committee passed the proposed bag ban in October, and city staff are now working to conduct an economic review and draft language for the ordinance.

The proposed ordinance would not only ban plastic bags, but would enforce a 10 cent charge for paper bags and require shopkeepers to keep records for three years.

Mark Arabo is the president and CEO of the Neighborhood Market Association, which represents grocery, liquor and convenience stores. He said the 10 cents charge for paper bags is a tax and a hardship for consumers.

“It’s a classic case of a politician pretending to do something for the environment, in part to appease some environmental groups, without seeing the bigger picture. Without seeing they’re hurting working families,” Arabo said.

City officials have said they spent $160,000 cleaning up the bags last year and that the ban makes economic sense.

Kristin Kuhn of San Diego Coastkeeper, a group that works to protect San Diego’s oceans and beaches, said the ban also has an environmental benefit.

“We’re not doing anything innovative here. A plastic bag ban has been shown to work in a bunch of other cases throughout the state. And it’s always had positive results. There haven’t been these damaging economic impacts that people have foreseen. And this is an argument that’s already happened 80-some different times in our own state,” Kuhn said.

Kuhn also refutes the idea that people will be paying a bag tax. She said shoppers can avoid the 10 cent fee for plastic bags by bringing their own bags to the store.

City Council is expected to vote on the ordinance in nine months to a year.


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