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Plastic Bag Ban Takes Effect In Encinitas

Photo by Promise Yee

Shopper Mary Poteet, of Cardiff, brings her own bags to Seaside Market, April 9, 2015.

Encinitas grocery shoppers will no longer be asked the question, “Paper or plastic?” when they shop. The region’s second plastic bag ban (after Solana Beach) goes into effect Friday.

Shoppers will be limited to the options of paying 10 cents for a paper bag, or bringing in a reusable bag at grocery stores in Encinitas and the communities of Cardiff, Leucadia and Olivenhain.

John Shamam, general manager of Seaside Market in Cardiff, said the store has taken measures to inform customers, such as offering coupons for free reusable bags, and posting signs.

Shamam said there is a learning curve for shoppers to get used to the new law.

“Because there’s going to be uninformed customers about the ban, we’re going to have to charge for the bag so it’s an extra step for our cashiers," he said. "It’s going to slow down the lines a little bit. They’re small challenges, but I think we’re going to be able to get through them.”

Currently, the store hands out 55 percent plastic bags and 45 percent paper bags. There are no numbers on how many reusable bags are brought in, but Shamam said there has been a tremendous increase over the years.

Some customers seem to be on board with the idea. Shopper Fred Lundgren of Cardiff said he supports the ban on plastic bags 100 percent. He said he is already in the habit of keeping reusable bags by the door and in the car to take to the market.

Photo by Promise Yee

Carlsbad resident Haley Davern picks up a reusable bag to shop at Seaside Market, April 9 2015.

Lundgren said the only downside he sees is the 10-cent charge for paper bags, which can add up.

But, he said, the environmental benefits outweigh any inconvenience.

“I think it’s forcing people to have the reusable bags and just bring them with them when they go,” Lundgren said. “And I see a lot more people using it than I have in the past.”

Statewide, 110 ordinances banning plastic bags have passed.

California passed a statewide plastic bag ban last year, but opponents have collected enough signatures to put it on the ballot in 2016.

Promise Yee is a North County freelance writer. Contact her at promise.yee1@gmail.com. Twitter: @promisenews. Facebook: promise.yee.1.

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