Aztecs argue for plastic bag ban in County

Monica Linzmeier, Photo Editor

Monica Linzmeier, Photo Editor

by Stephanie Saccente

The San Diego City Council unanimously proposed an ordinance banning plastic bags at supermarkets and large retail outlets Wednesday at City Council’s Rules and Economic Development Committee meeting.

The committee asked the mayor’s office to lead in the creation of outreach efforts alongside environmental groups and businesses and requested for the City Attorney’s Office to draft the proposal into a law.

Finance junior and Vice President of Special Projects for the Enviro-Business Society Sean Dreiling said San Diego should set an example by banning plastic bans from stores.

“Plastic bags are unnecessary—with an obvious alternative of reusable bags—and create a massive amount of waste that tends not to be recycled,” Dreiling said. “Students have a responsibility to become aware of the effects their daily lives have on our environment and a duty to mitigate or offset their impact in order for our world to sustain itself.”

Council President Pro Tem Sherri Lightner raised the possibility of a city-wide bag ban. Lightner said banning plastic bags could save $160,000 in landfill clean up costs, reduce greenhouse emissions and solid waste disposal. Earlier this year, Senate Bill 405 proposed a similar ban for the entire state, but it failed by three votes.

Sustainability sophomore Hannah Krikorian said she believes it’s important for everyone to start incorporating sustainability actions into daily life, so it’s not as big of an issue in the future. Krikorian also said that by doing small things such as recycling, buying a reusable water bottle or not using plastic bags can make a huge impact.

“I feel plastic bags are a huge harm to the environment and banning them would definitely help with many environmental issues, but in most cases the general public will not react well to the ban,” Krikorian said. “I think maybe a possible alternative solution would be to charge a fee, like how many stores do when you buy plastic bottles, for people who want to use plastic bags to help encourage the use of reusable bags.”

Plastic bags are a major component of the debris found on beaches and in oceans where mammals and birds attempt to consume them. As of right now, Solana Beach is the only city in San Diego County to enforce a plastic bag ban. Staff will reassemble at their committee meeting on Oct. 23 with an update on their progress.

“It starts with one person and every action counts,” Dreiling said.

Read about the Solana Beach plastic bag ban.