Truckee plastic bag ban could become law before year’s end

Margaret Moran

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To learn more about the Truckee’s proposed plastic bag ban, click here.

TRUCKEE, Calif. — A proposal to ban single-use plastic bags in Truckee is one step closer to becoming law.

In a 4-0 vote, Truckee Town Council on Tuesday approved the first reading of an ordinance that would ban most disposable plastic bags, while requiring retailers to charge a minimum 10-cent fee for a recycled paper or reusable bag.

“(If) we didn’t put a charge on paper, there’s some concern that people would just all of a sudden start switching to consuming paper,” said Nichole Dorr, town recycling coordinator. “It really wouldn’t achieve the desired result of the reduction of single-use bag consumption.”

Stores would keep money generated by the fee to help offset the cost of buying paper bags. Businesses also would be required to itemize the number of paper and reusable bags sold on a customer’s receipt, while keeping track of the total number of those bags sold over three years.

Restaurants are excluded from the ordinance, including take-out establishments and any business that receives 90 percent or more of its revenue from the sale of prepared food.

Additional exemptions include: plastic bags for product packaging; prescription medication from a pharmacy; separation of food or merchandise that could damage or contaminate other items when placed together in a reusable bag; and large items such as tires, dry-cleaning and large-format artwork.

The ordinance is scheduled for a second reading before town council on Monday, Nov. 25. If adopted, it becomes law after 30 days.

While staff recommended a Sept. 1, 2014, implementation date to allow for public education and outreach, council favored June 1, 2014.

“What I’ve seen out there in the public and the conversations that I’ve overheard is there is a lot of awareness out there now,” said Mayor Carolyn Wallace Dee. “I think we should take advantage of that and kind of run with it.”

Council member Alicia Barr also favored June 1, given the amount of bag consumption in the busy summer months.

“We’d have such a big impact right out of the gate,” she said.

While no one spoke during public comment, a majority of community members have voiced support for the ban through surveys and in past meetings.

“I just feel we’ve got to save our Earth one bag at a time, continuing with our little town,” Truckee resident Kathee Hansen said at the Oct. 22 town council meeting.

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