Glendale may join list of cities that ban plastic bags at grocery stores

Glendale could become the next major city in Los Angeles County to ban plastic bags at grocery stores after the City Council takes up the matter at its meeting Tuesday night.

It’s a proposal the city’s been mulling over for years, but that only now has come back in the form of an ordinance. Glendale’s proposed ban is modeled off a countywide ban that took effect in 2011, but would go a step further by including farmer’s markets and all city-sponsored events, as well as any event held on city property.

If approved Tuesday night, the ban will take effect in two phases. In six months it would impact large grocery stores and farmer’s markets, as well as retailers with at least 10,000 square feet that include a pharmacy.

Smaller grocers, liquor stores and city events would have 12 months to comply.

Citations would be issued based on complaints filed by the public. After a first time written notice, violators would subject to a $100 fine, which increases to $500 after the second citation, according to the proposed ordinance.

“I think it’s a small measure that will lead to great results,” Mayor Frank Quintero said in an interview Monday, referring to litter in the city-owned School Canyon Landfill.

Other council members on Monday said they were in favor of the ban so long as businesses were on board — and many appear to be.

Several large retailers, such as Ralphs and Albertsons, have supported the ban in the past, preferring a similar law throughout the state rather than the city-by-city patchwork that currently exists.

Mark Sheridan, manager of the popular Montrose Farmer’s Market, also supports the change.

“It’s a challenge, but one that’s necessary for the community,” he said, adding that the market may take a cue from Trader Joe’s and other retailers by developing its own reusable bag.

If the City Council moves forward with the ban, Glendale would join other cities that have enacted similar rules, including Los Angeles, Pasadena and Laguna Beach.

But despite the proliferation of plastic bag bans across the Southland, Donna Dempsey, a spokeswoman for the American Progressive Bag Alliance, said the laws are misguided since reusable and paper bags have their own set of environmental issues.

“It’s very shortsighted,” she said.

The proposed ordinance would also add a 10-cent charge on paper bags. Retailers would be able to use that money to recoup costs and educate customers about reusable bags, according to a city report.

Customers who participate in state-funded supplemental food programs would be exempt from the 10 cent charge.

-- Brittany Levine, Times Community News

Follow Brittany Levine on Google+ and on Twitter: @brittanylevine.


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