VACAVILLE — Solano County supervisors and mayors heard Thursday about a growing movement to ban plastic, one-use shopping bags and decided to explore the issue.
But they didn’t yet embrace a plastic shopping bag ban and at times smiled or grimaced when they heard details of what’s been done in other communities. Rather, they directed staff to spend 90 days researching what a possible, model law might look like.
The supervisors and mayors met at Solano County Water Agency offices as the Solano County City Coordinating Council. They conduct these periodic meetings to discuss issues of mutual interest.
More than 70 California communities have banned grocery stores and other stores from handing out one-use plastic bags at checkout counters. Many also require stores to charge 5 cents to 25 cents for paper bags. The goal is to encourage shoppers to bring their own, reusable bags.
The state Legislature is considering a similar statewide plastic shopping bag ban.
Proponents of the bans say plastic bags blow easily in the wind. The bags cause litter problems, get into waterways and end up in the ocean, harming sea life.
Suisun City Mayor Pete Sanchez wondered how city managers would enforce a ban.
“It looks like an administrative nightmare to me,” Sanchez said.
Rio Vista Mayor Norman Richardson said he sees people in his city bringing reusable bags to the market.
“I think it’s a movement that’s growing and an ordinance just might help shove it along,” he said.
Fairfield Mayor Harry Price asked that the chambers of commerce be part of the discussion. He talked of not moving too fast, but not taking a decade, either.
Supervisor Linda Seifert said the plastic bag ban issue is reaching a tipping point. Solano County can use the research done in other communities when looking at the issue itself.
Supervisor Erin Hannigan talked of having a plastic bag ban that would be the same in the county and its seven cities, saying consistency is important. Others said that each city might want to adopt a model law to fit its own needs.
Vacaville Mayor Steve Hardy noted the various community plastic ban laws usually require the stores to charge 10 cents or some other amount for paper bags, with the stores keeping the money. He suggested the cities get a portion of that money to pay for monitoring a ban.
“I don’t think the big stores are entitled to the 10 cents and we get nothing,” Hardy said.
The issue is to return at some point to the County City Coordinating Council. Any plastic bag ban would have to be passed by the individual city councils for each city and the Board of Supervisors for rural areas.
Also attending Thursday’s meeting were Dixon Mayor Jack Batchelor, Vallejo Mayor Osby Davis and Solano County Supervisors Skip Thomson and John Vasquez. Absent were Benicia Mayor Elizabeth Patterson and Solano County Supervisor Jim Spering.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.