Unanimous Vote to Pass Plastic Bag Ban in Palm Desert - KMIR News | Palm Springs, California

Unanimous Vote to Pass Plastic Bag Ban in Palm Desert

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PALM DESERT, Ca. -
City Council voted unanimously Thursday night to pass an ordinance banning plastic bags in stores in Palm Desert.

It's the fourth city in the Coachella Valley to pass the policy, behind Palm Springs, Desert Hot Springs and Indio.

"We had discussions back in 2011 with grocery stores and we have their support," said Tony Bagato, the City's Principal Planner, adding the ordinance will help retail stores save money as well as preventing littering and damaging the environment.

Under the ordinance, both grocery and retail stores will no longer be able to use single-use plastic bags except for "contaminations issues like meat and dairy and fruits and vegetables," said Bagato.

Stores will be required to make reusable bags an option for customers or charge ten cents per recyrecyclableer bags.

This last requirement sparked concern during the public council meeting from both counccouncil membersresidents.

A manager of high-end retail stores on El Paseo said during the public meeting that it will be hard to enforce some of these stores to charge per paper bag when they haven't done so in the past.

Councilmember Jan Harnik said she didn't think this would be an issue if someone is already spending a large sum of money at high-end stores, then they probably wouldn't mind spending ten more cents for a bag.

Overall, the effects of the ban will be positive, reassured Bagato.

"I think the hardest impact is the learning curve and the habit changing," said Bagato, adding they will start an awareness campaign that will span six months.

They are reaching out to the community by setting up kiosks at retail and grocery stores and handing out 5,000 reusable bags to shoppers.

The City also purchased 10,000 reusable bags, called ChicoBags, to give away to residents starting in September.

There will still be a second reading on the ordinance in the coming weeks, but for now, it's a win for Bagato, the Coachella Valley Association of Governments and the Palm Desert's Citizen's Sustainability Committee who all helped draft the policy.

More than 100 cities in California have adopted similar ordinances banning plastic bags.
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