In about four weeks, shoppers in Huntington Beach will again be able to choose plastic bags and not have to pay 10 cents if they get paper.
The City Council voted, 6 to 1, on Monday to finalize its repeal of the city’s ban on plastic bags as well as the 10-cent paper bag fee. Mayor Jill Hardy voted no. The council took an identical vote April 20 on the measure’s first reading.
Unless the decision is challenged by a member of the public, the ban will be lifted June 3, Times Community News reported.
The ban, which went into effect in November 2013, was aimed at reducing litter citywide, especially on the beach. However, many residents thought the ordinance represented government overreach.
The repeal process started in January when Councilman Mike Posey proposed it in light of a statewide effort backed by about 800,000 residents to put a referendum on the state’s plastic bag ban on the November 2016 ballot.
In March, Assemblyman Matthew Harper (R-Huntington Beach) introduced two bills intended to repeal the state’s 10-cent paper bag fee as well as the ban on plastic bags.
Harper, a former Huntington Beach mayor, represents the 74th Assembly District, which includes Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Irvine, Laguna Beach and Laguna Woods.
Jessica Budica, a member of the Surfrider Foundation, a San Clemente-based environmental group, was critical of the City Council, which at Monday night’s meeting commended a local company for its recycling efforts before voting to lift the plastic bag ban.
“Which do you want to be? Do you want to be sustainable or not?” Budica said during public comments. “We are taking a step backward in forward thinking. I understand that change is difficult for some people on this council, but the world is changing.”
Carpio writes for Times Community News.