Truckee closing in on plastic-bag ban proposal |

Truckee closing in on plastic-bag ban proposal

Single-use plastic bags, like ones that used to be sold in Truckee at Safeway, are not accepted in curbside recycling because they can get stuck in the sorting equipment.
File photo |

TRUCKEE, Calif. — The topic of banning plastic bags in Truckee could return to town council later this month.

This comes after the South Lake Tahoe City Council took a major step this week toward a ban at retail and grocery stores, and establishing a fee for paper bags.

Truckee has considered a similar proposal since January. A three-month survey early this year revealed 70 percent of 1,109 community members and 51 percent of 41 business owners favored such a ban.

Another poll conducted at Truckee Thursdays this summer revealed a majority of full-time residents, second-home owners and visitors support the ban.

A stakeholder group of local business owners, Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce members and nonprofits, among others, has met monthly since July to explore banning single-use plastic bags at checkout stands in town.

“The single-use bag workshop had a great, great, great turnout of very enthusiastic individuals, and we worked through a number of the issues,” town council member Joan deRyk Jones said at the council’s Sept. 24 meeting.

At the group’s Thursday, Oct. 3, meeting, stakeholders were scheduled to review a draft ordinance they helped craft, said Nichole Dorr, the town’s recycling coordinator.

According to the draft, no retail establishment would be allowed to provide a single-use carrying bag to a customer at checkout. Customers wouldn’t be prohibited from using any bag type they bring into a store, however.

Additionally, businesses may sell customers a recycled paper bag or a reusable bag for a minimum fee of 10 cents, the draft proposes. Provisional exceptions for up to six months of the effective date will be at the discretion of the town manager.

The draft ordinance could be presented to Truckee Town Council as early as Oct. 22.

Town council last heard the topic at its April 23 meeting, drawing many questions — including who would be impacted by the ban and implementation logistics — from council members.

On Tuesday, South Tahoe City council members voted 3-2 in favor of amendments to a law to ban plastic bags. The ordinance will go through a second reading at the Oct. 15 meeting.

If adopted, the ban would go into effect Jan. 15.

“You have to show me there’s a problem,” said South Lake Tahoe Mayor Tom Davis, who voted against the change.

He said he doesn’t see the ordinance as addressing an imminent city problem.

“We have similarities to them, and I’m sure we will look at their ordinance when we look to draft our own,” Truckee town council member Mark Brown said Thursday when asked for reaction to South Tahoe’s vote.

Yet, Brown said town council is here to represent the public interest of Truckee.

“I just want to have the best ordinance for the town that we can work out,” he said.

Other California communities that have implemented a ban on plastic bags include San Francisco and San Jose.

The Tahoe Daily Tribune’s Eric Heinz contributed to this report.

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