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August 18, 2016

Community Update by Curt Watts
Economic Development Director

Cathedral City Goes Green for Most Retail Shopping
Starting August 22, 2016

Two Related Statewide Ballot Measures in November

 Lightweight plastic carryout bags are often found as litter throughout communities impacting our neighborhoods, streets and parks. On average, only about 5 percent of single-use plastic bags get recycled. To reduce litter and to encourage reusable shopping bags, the City Council of Cathedral City voted unanimously to go GREEN by banning single-use plastic bags at retail locations. The ban does not affect restaurants or nonprofit, charitable resellers to name a few.

The Cathedral City ban is similar to those passed in other cities within the Coachella Valley including Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Desert Hot Springs and Indio.  Retailers are able to provide a paper bag to customers for a charge of ten cents in the event a patron forgets or needs additional bags.  The City of Cathedral City has previously and will continue to distributed reusable bags to residents at various city events and promotions to help residents transition to more environmentally-friendly practices.

The following are exempt from the Single-Use Plastic Bag Ordinance:

• Prepared take-out foods and liquids (intended for consumption away from the food provider’s premises);

• Produce, product and hanging garment bags (i.e. dry cleaners hung garments); and

• Prescription medication dispensed from a pharmacy

Implementation of the Cathedral City “bag ban” has been staged over time with the first phase taking effect February 22, 2016 and the second phase being effective August 22, 2016.

On February 22, 2016, single-use plastic bags were banned in:

• Full-line, self-service retail stores with gross annual sales of two million dollars ($2,000,000), or more, that sell a line of dry grocery, canned goods, or nonfood items and some perishable items; and

• Stores of at least 10,000 square feet of retail space that sell any perishable or non-perishable goods including, but not limited to clothing, food, or personal items, and generate sales or use tax pursuant to the Bradley-Burns Uniform Local Sales and Use Tax Law.

Beginning August 22, 2016, single-use plastic bags will be banned in:

• Drug stores, pharmacies, supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience food stores food marts or other entities engaged in the retail sale of a limited line of goods that includes milk, bread, soda, and snack foods, including those stores with a Type 20 or 21 license issued by the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control; and

• Stores of less than 10,000 square feet of retail space that sell any perishable or non-perishable goods including, but not limited to clothing, food, or personal items, and generate sales or use tax pursuant to the Bradley-Burns Uniform Local Sales and Use Tax Law.

Two Statewide Measures Regarding Single-Use Plastic Bags Will Appear on the November General Election Ballot

The California Secretary of State’s Office has certified the final list of statewide measures that have qualified for the November ballot including two propositions regarding a yet-to-be-enacted STATEWIDE ban on plastic bags.

Plastic Bag Ban Referendum: In 2014, Brown signed SB 270, the nation’s first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags. The governor touted the ban as a way to stop “the torrent of plastic polluting our beaches, parks and even the vast ocean itself.”  But the ban never went into effect as the American Progressive Bag Alliance, comprised of American plastic bag manufacturers and related companies, collected 800,000 signatures to postpone the statewide ban and put the measure up for a vote in November as Proposition 67. 

Carry-Out Bag Revenue: This measure would go into effect only if the referendum (Proposition 67) to overturn the statewide plastic bag ban is defeated. It would direct money that stores collect from selling paper bags to be placed into a special state fund for environmental projects. If the statewide ban on single-use bags is NOT upheld, then this initiative would only impact bag fees in communities like Cathedral City with local bans in place.

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