Newport student revives push for plastic bag ban

The last time activists brought the idea of a plastic bag ban to the Newport Beach City Council officials declined to even study the idea, but public speakers warned the issue wouldn't go away.

More than a year after that 2011 vote, a group of youth activists will try again to lobby the city into enacting a ban.

Corona del Mar High School student Kendall Kerley runs a club called Project Pure Planet.

The group collects hazardous waste like printer cartridges or electronics at school and runs communitywide recycling drives.

"I have always been extremely passionate about the environment," Kendall said in an email.

Now she has set her sights on the new but familiar target of plastic bags. She and a group of students plan on asking the council to ban them.

Brainstorming ideas with other environmentalists in Newport Beach's Environmental Action Corps and Youth Council, Kendall latched onto the idea, she said.

"I am very dedicated to this cause, so I, along with members of the Environmental Action Corps plan to be the spearhead of this campaign," she added.

Newport's council did approve a polystyrene food container ban that students brought to them in 2008.

But bags are different, Mayor Keith Curry said, arguing that they're much more widely used and don't have an easy replacement as food containers did.

An ordinance would affect many local businesses who would pass any added costs onto consumers, he said.

Kendall may try to get those businesses on board first though.

She hopes to rally support throughout the community and talk merchants into adopting biodegradable alternatives, but her ultimate goal is the ban.

"As for now, we just want to raise awareness about the harm that plastic is doing and about our campaign, so that hopefully others will join and then we will have greater strength in our efforts to push this legislation through the City Council," she said.

Ultimately, she'll have to sway the dais.

Curry joined the majority opposed to studying the ban in 2011. His vote, at least, hasn't changed.

"Frankly, it's an issue that I don't think the city wants to be involved in," he said.

Twitter: @jeremiahdobruck

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