Encinitas City Council to consider ban on plastic bags

Charging customers for paper bags also on table

ENCINITAS, Calif. - The city of Encinitas is once again considering banning plastic bags and charging customers for paper bags.

Phasing out single-use carryout bags at all businesses, including restaurants, would reduce waste and encourage shoppers to carry their own reusable bags. A similar ban was discussed in 2008, but an ordinance never got drafted.

Encinitas will be looking at Solana Beach to see how its year-old plastic bag ban has worked.

"It's causing people to stop shopping here," said Shay Roberts, who works at Kamay Beauty in Solana Beach.

"I'll ask them do you want a bag? And then they say, 'Well, what are you talking about, of course I want a bag, I have 20 items at the counter,' and they get pretty upset when I have to tell them it's 10 cents here in Solana Beach now," Roberts explained. "We've had people actually say, 'I'm leaving, I'm not paying the 10 cents."

Although there has been a learning curve for their customers, Roberts said the beauty supply store experienced only a small drop in business, saying once customers realize it's the law and it helps the environment, they're OK with it.

10News witnessed a woman with two shopping carts full of clothing leaving the Marshall's store at the same shopping center. Danielle Dietz-Livolsi said she hates plastic bags.

"It's terrible for the environment. They're not biodegradable. They're not going to break down for hundreds and thousands of years," she said of the bags she shuns.

Still, some merchants in Encinitas are concerned about how their customers will feel about paying for paper bags they're used to getting for free.

"Any cost that we have to pass on to our customers concerns us," said Andy Zack, who runs Cardiff's Seaside Market.

The independent grocery store uses about 10,000 plastic bags per week and 7,500 paper bags. Only about 20 percent of Seaside Market's customers bring their own bags.

Zack said he hopes that if there is a ban on plastic bags, it will extend to the communities that surround Encinitas, creating an even playing field for businesses.

Encinitas Mayor Theresa Barth told 10News the earliest the City Council could vote on a plastic bag ban would be late August or early September of this year.

She said there would be plenty of time for public comment before any decision is made.

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