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Morgan Hill, Calif., passes bag and PS foam bans

By: Jeremy Carroll

October 4, 2013

MORGAN, HILL, CALIF. — Officials in Morgan Hill approved a plastic bag ban and a ban on polystyrene foam food containers at an Oct. 2 meeting.

Both bans go into effect on Earth Day in 2014, April 22. Morgan Hill, with a population of 37,000, is about 20 miles south of San Jose.

Under the plastic bag ban, stores will be allowed to give customers paper bags, but they must charge a 10-cent fee for each one. Stores are also asked to promote reusable bags and will have special days where they can give customers free reusable bags if they wish.

Under the PS ban, raw eggs, raw meat, fish and poultry sold from a butcher case are exempt.

Both measures passed unanimously, with a lengthy discussion on the plastic bag ordinance, but just a short discussion on the PS ban.

A survey of food establishments in the city showed that a majority used PS foam in some form, but a slight majority did not have concerns about the ordinance.

"This ordinance was a little bit easier," council member Rich Constantine said about the PS ban during the meeting. "I think that the restaurant suppliers, who supply the food containers, see the writing on the wall and have been getting rid of their [expanded PS] for quite some time.

"A lot of restaurants have already seen that this is something that is going to become widespread and have already been taking steps to alleviate their use of EPS, which I take as a good sign," he said.

There are now approximately 80 municipalities in California with plastic bag bans and approximately 75 municipalities in the state with PS bans on the books.