Monterey is on its way to joining the growing list of California communities with bans on single-use plastic carryout bags, and its neighbor on the Monterey Peninsula — the city of Pacific Grove — also is looking into whether a ban makes sense there.
In addition, the city of Marina — located nine miles north of Monterey — has banned polystryene takeout containers, increasing the number of California communities with PS bans to more than 50.
The Monterey ban on plastic bags passed its first reading Nov. 1 and will have a second reading Nov. 15; it is expected to face little opposition. That ban would go into effect Feb. 12 and would place a 10-cent tax on paper bags starting in mid-April, escalating to 25 cents in mid-July. There is an exemption for restaurants and takeout food operations that derive 90 percent or more of their revenues from food.
Pacific Grove's action on plastic bags won't come until next year; the city plans to discuss the possible ban at a community meeting, most likely in January.
Marina's ban on PS food-service takeout ware was approved at a second reading Nov. 1. The ban applies to items such as plates, bowls, trays, cups and hinged containers. It does not apply to single-use straws, cup lids, or utensils.
In addition, Marina will require food providers in the city that use disposable food-service ware to use biodegradable, compostable or recyclable products unless there is no affordable alternative available.
The law will go into effect Dec. 1 and urges immediate voluntary compliance, but it delays enforcement until May 1 to give retailers time to clear existing stock.
Similar PS bans in the Monterey area have been enacted by Monterey County, Seaside, Pacific Grove and Del Rey Oaks.