San Anselmo advances toward plastic ban

San Anselmo advances toward single-use plastic ban By ADRIAN RODRIGUEZ | arodriguez@marinij.com| Marin Independent Journal PUBLISHED: September 16, 2018 at 12:04 pm | UPDATED: September 16, 2018 at 12:05 pm A proposal to ban single-use plasticware — such as takeout food containers, straws and utensils — is gaining momentum in San Anselmo.
After a presentation last week, the Town Council gave its blessing to the proposal, allowing staff to begin drafting an ordinance that would prohibit food vendors and the local government from providing these single-use plastics and disposable food containers to customers.
The council did ask for more information about how the new rule would be implemented if it’s adopted, and asked that staff include business owners in on the conversation.
Overall, council members thought it was a good idea, including Ford Greene, who said, “I think we should do this.”
“I’m very much in support of it,” he said after the presentation Tuesday. “As a world, really, we’re choking on plastic: Critters are choking on plastic, fish are swimming in plastic and if it’s not going to happen higher up, it needs to happen on our level.”
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Councilman Brian Colbert said while he applauds the effort, he wants to see some hard data that paints an accurate picture of how harmful using plastic is, and what financial burden this could place on San Anselmo businesses.
“I think it needs a little work,” Colbert said, encouraging staff to engage with business owners to get their input.
Other communities in Marin, including Fairfax and Novato, are also looking at similar bans, building on what has been adopted already.
For example, the Board of Supervisors in 2009 banned takeout food packaging that contained polystyrene foam and plastic. Other communities, including Mill Valley, Sausalito and Fairfax, had bans on polystyrene even before then. San Rafael followed suit soon after.
The conversation comes as Gov. Jerry Brown considers legislation, which recently passed in the Assembly and state Senate, that would ban restaurants from offering single-use plastic straws unless requested by the customer. Some restaurants have already instituted this practice while others use compostable paper straws. AB 1884 was introduced by state Assemblyman Ian Calderon, D-Whittier.
As it turns out, plastic straws are the fifth-most common beach trash in the U.S., according to data from six U.S. organizations involved with cleanups and cleanup analysis. The data was compiled by 5 Gyres Institute, which is dedicated to reducing plastic pollution.
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