While many California cities from our tourist-corridor have recently approved and considered bans on plastics in their communities, the City of South Lake Tahoe wants to be a leader on this important environmental initiative here in the Tahoe Basin. Being situated along shores of South Lake Tahoe, within one of the most sensitive watersheds in the country and known as one of the most popular recreation and tourist destinations in the world, the Sustainability Commission agrees single-use plastic bags should be eliminated in our community.
On October 15, 2013, the City of South Lake Tahoe adopted Ordinance 1061, which eliminates the distribution of single use plastic bags under the City’s Code, Article VI, Chapter 23 entitled “Ban on Plastic Single-Use Carry-Out Bags.”
Staff Report on Ordinance 1061 from October 15, 2013
The City will be holding an informational meeting in the City Council Chambers on Wednesday, November 13th at 5:30pm for business owners to learn about the new ordinance answer any questions and get your feedback.
Click HERE for the meeting flyer.
- A “Plastic Single-Use Carry-Out Bag” is defined as a bag, other than a re-usable carry-out bag or recycled paper bag, provided at the check stand, cash register, point of sale, or other point of departure for the purpose of transporting food or merchandise out of a retail establishment.
- A “Food Vendor” is defined as a business located within the City of South Lake Tahoe which sells perishable food products. This includes vendors at Farmers Markets.
- A “Retail Establishment” means any business conducting retail sales within or doing business within the geographical limits the City of South Lake Tahoe.
- Plastic single-use carry-out bags that do not include handles and are provided to the customer: (1) to transport produce, bulk food or meat department products within a store to the point of sale; (2) to hold prescription medication dispensed from a pharmacy; or (3) to segregate food or merchandise that could damage or contaminate other food or merchandise when placed together in a bag are excluded by this ordinance.
Key Provisions of the Ordinance
The ordinance takes effect for grocery stores and food vendors on January 15, 2014 and for all remaining retail establishments on October 15, 2014.
The ordinance bans the plastic single-use carry-out bags and paper bags which fall below 40% recycled content by retailers within the City of South Lake Tahoe.
History and Purpose of the Ordinance
The City of South Lake Tahoe Sustainability Commission first considered the initiative of banning single use plastic bags in 2008. The City Council adopted a Sustainability Plan in 2008, which included the development of “Zero Waste Policies” and promotion of “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle Practices” and adopted the Sustainability Commission’s Work Plan, which included the initiative.
A work program was launched in 2009, which included community forums and public workshops in 2010 and 2011. Informal updates on the progress of the initiative were presented to the City Council during Commission Reports.
In November 2012, a draft ordinance on a potential ban of plastic bags was presented to City Council. Following discussion and City Council direction, the ordinance was amended and brought back to the City Council in the summer of 2013. The ordinance was further amended and adopted in October 2013.
The purpose of the ordinance is to eliminate the plastic single-use carry-out bags because of the impact the plastic bags have on the environment.
It is the City’s intent to encourage residents, businesses and visitors alike to reduce the consumption of single use bags and utilize reusable bags.
Compliance with Ordinance
Future City Council meetings could include modifications to the ordinance to address issues and concerns determined through implementation of the ordinance.
Compliance by grocery stores and food vendors is required by January 15, 2014 and for all remaining retail establishments and remaining non-profit vendors by October 15, 2014.
Violations of the ordinance will result in an administrative citation. First violation will result in a citation providing the retailer 14 days to comply. Further failure to comply will result in a citation and imposition of fines, which will be set forth in a future resolution of the City Council.