Huge hole in Del Mar's plastic bag ban proposal

Posted at 6:40 PM, Dec 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-11 21:40:58-05

Del Mar wants to join the list of cities banning plastic bags, but there's a 340 acre-wide hole in the proposal.

If you buy anything from Fair Trade Decor in downtown Del Mar, manager Sarah Holtz will gladly pack it for you -- in a paper bag.

"Now we're faced with a problem, and that problem is way too much plastic on our planet," Holtz said.

Sometimes, she still resorts to plastic.

"We use these great bubble wrapped bags that we do ask the customers to reuse," Holtz said.

Holtz's business and other Del Mar businesses may have to keep reusing them because Del Mar is about to become San Diego County's third city to ban single-use plastic bags.

Environmentalists say the bags pollute the Earth and harm marine life, but the plastic bag industry says they don't pollute and that bans kill jobs.

Del Mar's ban may not affect either. For instance, there are no grocery stores within Del Mar city limits -- and that's not even the biggest hole.

It's the 340-acre Del Mar Fairgrounds, where more than 1.5 million people converge every summer for the San Diego County Fair. The city can't touch the venue because it's owned by the state.

Del Mar is holding a public hearing next Thursday for those who wish to discuss the ban. Voters across the state, however, will have their say on whether to ban single-use plastic bags on the November 2016 ballot.

Del Mar Fairgrounds spokeswoman Linda Zweig said a plastic bag ban would be impractical with so many events and vendors all year. However, she said it has been discussed along with other environmental initiatives.

Holtz said anyone could ban plastic bags themselves as long as they're creative.

"A lot of times, we have to make boxes out of boxes or other recycled material to ship our things properly," she said.

In other words, to ban plastic bags, just think outside the box.