Disposable plastic bags could be harder to come by in South Lake Tahoe as soon as this summer if the City Council passes a long-discussed ordinance next week.
The council will discuss a proposed "Bring Your Own Bag" ordinance, designed to encourage the use of reusable bags, at its Tuesday meeting at Lake Tahoe Airport.
The proposal would ban South Lake Tahoe grocers and food vendors from providing one-time-use plastic bags to customers at checkout, while allowing them to provide recycled paper bags for a 10-cent charge per bag. The charge would be upped to a minimum of 20 cents per bag per year after passage of the ordinance under the proposal.
The ordinance would expand to cover all retailers with 50 or more full-time employees a year after it goes into effect.
Nonprofit organizations with stores selling donated items are exempt from the ordinance, and the city manager may provide a one-year exemption from the ordinance to a business that shows undue hardship. Any hardship exemption would have to be submitting to the city within 60 days of the ordinance's effective date.
If approved Tuesday, adoption of the ordinance requires a second reading at a subsequent council meeting. The ordinance would take effect six months after final City Council approval.
The ordinance originated from the city's Sustainability Commission and would be enforced by the police's Code Enforcement Division. Retailers who violate the ban could face unspecified fines.
Truckee, near Lake Tahoe's North Shore, is one of several jurisdictions considering a plastic bag ban and fee on paper bags. An initial survey of residents there has shown nearly 70 percent support for the ban.
The South Lake Tahoe City Council meets starting at 9 a.m. at 1901 Airport Road. The council is scheduled to hear several items prior to the plastic bag discussion.
--Sierra Sun reporter Margaret Moran contributed to this story.