Council moves toward bag ordinance

After a failed attempt at pushing people to voluntarily give up single-use plastic bags, pursuing an all-out ban gained broad support from the City Council on Tuesday.

City officials must still complete an environmental review of the proposed ordinance, which is similar to a law that went into effect for unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County. That ordinance bans plastic bags at most retailers and imposes a 10-cent surcharge per paper bag.

“This is really about changing people’s habits,” said Mayor Laura Friedman.

Other cities, such as Pasadena, have already started drafting their own bans to align with the county. Burbank officials have indicated that they may follow their lead.

“This is an ordinance that needs to be done,” Glendale Councilman Frank Quintero.

The proposed ordinance has been strongly supported by environmental groups, which point out that the bags clog storm drains, cause litter and overrun landfills.

Glendale signed onto a voluntary program headed by the county about three years ago that was supposed to reduce plastic bag use by 30% in 2010 and 65% by 2013, but it wasn’t successful.

“Those numbers just weren’t coming through. Single-use plastic bags continue to proliferate,” said Public Works Director Steve Zurn.

Whether the plastic bag ban will impact restaurants is still up in the air, but several council members said they were in favor of an across-the-board rule.

Albertsons spokesman Rick Crandall said the grocery store chain was in favor of the ban so long as it was in line with the county ordinance.

“We do not want a patchwork design city by city to have to manage,” Crandall said.

Despite inquiries about a possible ban on paper bags — a move being considered by Los Angeles — Glendale is unlikely to go beyond the law and expose itself to possible legal action from private industry.

“The path has already been shown where you can go,” City Manager Jim Starbird said, noting that the 10-cent charge per paper bag should act as a deterrent.

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