A Sacramento City Council subcommittee will take its first look today at a possible ban on plastic shopping bags at large grocery stores in the city.
The city's Law and Legislation Committee is expected to ask city staff to begin drafting an ordinance that would ban the bags and place a 5 cent or 10 cent charge on paper shopping bags. The process of approving an ordinance by the City Council would likely take at least two months.
Speaking at a press conference this morning at City Hall, advocates of a ban said regulating plastic bags would have a positive environmental impact on rivers, streams and ocean life.
"Nothing we use for a few minutes should pollute our oceans for a hundred years," said Nathan Weaver, an oceans advocate with Environment California.
Councilman Steve Cohn, who will propose the ban to the Law and Legislation Committee, said he and others would like to see a statewide ban on plastic bags.
"Hopefully, us taking this up will help motivate the Legislature," he said. Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael, introduced a bill proposing a statewide ban last month.
Plastic bag advocates argue that the industry that makes the products employs 1,900 people in California and that banning plastic bags will push consumers into using paper and reusable bags that can be harmful to the environment.