By Claire Harlin
The Solana Beach City Council on July 11 approved in its first reading an ordinance that clarifies the restaurant exemption portion of the plastic bag ban the city passed in May.
On May 9, Solana Beach became the first city in the county to adopt a plastic bag ban. However, they included allowances exempting restaurants to avoid litigation regarding possible violation of the state California Retail Code. Whether local governments are preempted by state law is being deliberated in courts across the state in response to threats from the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition, and allowances for restaurants will stay in place in Solana Beach, at least until there is a ruling.
The ordinance defines a restaurant as any establishment doing business in the city that provides prepared food or beverages for consumption, and it defines a single-use plastic carry-out bag (which is being allowed) as a bag that is less than 2.25 mils thick (a mil is one thousandth of an inch) and is made of plastic derived from petroleum of bio-based sources like corn or other plants. It also clarifies the definitions of “retail establishments,” which are not exempted, and “reusable bag,” of which the city is encouraging use.