The bags are back, baby. At least in Huntington Beach, Calif.
Two years after banning single-use plastic bags from grocery stores in the seaside community of more than 200,000, the city council voted 6-1 on April 20 to repeal the city's ban on plastic bags and a 10-cent fee for paper bags.
The repeal will get a second reading at the next City Council meeting on June 4 and be enacted 30 days after that. The single no vote came from Mayor Jill Hardy, who expressed concerns that citizens did not have enough notice and could not weigh in in time.
Councilman Mike Posey, who penned the repeal legislation, told the Orange County Register that the bag ban was the main reason he ran for City Council last year.
“It was the most important issue to me. This one single issue inspired me to run for City Council,” Posey told the newspaper. “The ban has nothing to do with the environment. It has everything to do with a consumer's freedom of choice. Grocers like the convenience, cost and utility of plastic bags.”
Huntington Beach is the first community in the United States to repeal a bag ban already in effect. Last fall, the Fort Collins, Colo., City Council repealed an ordinance that would have imposed a 5-cent per-bag fee on paper and plastic bags before the ban's April 1 kickoff date.
Supporters of the Huntington Beach ban, who favor it as a way to keep bags off the beaches and out of the ocean, may get their way eventually. A state-wide referendum to ban plastics bags across the board in California will be on ballots in November 2016.