Encinitas plastic bag ban to take effect despite possible referendum


Encinitas’ plastic bag ban will take effect in April, even though opponents of a statewide ban appear to have forced a referendum.

The Encinitas City Council approved the ban last August, when it was uncertain whether the state ban would win approval. A month later, Gov. Jerry Brown signed California’s legislation, SB 270, into law.

SB 270 says that local bag ban ordinances will stand, as long as they were approved before Sept. 1.

However, SB 270, which was slated to begin in July, will probably be delayed until 2016. And it could be overturned.

American Progressive Bag Alliance, an organization backed by plastic-bag manufacturers, recently submitted more than 800,000 signatures — more than the 504,760 required — to put the ban on the state ballot in November 2016.

If the California Secretary of State’s office judges the signatures to be valid, the state ban will be delayed until voters have the chance to weigh in.

“We are confident the Secretary of State’s office will verify the required 504,760 signatures to qualify the referendum,” stated a press release from the American Progressive Bag Alliance.

Encinitas’ legislation will take effect April 10 for grocery stores, pharmacies and convenience stores. By Oct. 10, the ban will expand to other retailers and farmers markets.

The city’s ordinance applies to more stores than SB 270, which does not include smaller retailers. Once fully implemented, it’s expected the Encinitas ban will cover about 300 local establishments.

One notable exemption in the ordinance: Grocery store bags for meat and produce will still be allowed.

Those stores that come under the ban will be required to charge 10 cents per paper bag, a fee that will remain with the store.

Solana Beach is the only other city in San Diego County with a ban in place.