Honorable Mayor and Council Members. Nichole Dorr, Recycling Coordinator~D Alexa Terrell, Recycling Intern. 'Yf. Single-Use Bag Waste Reduction })(

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1 AGENDA ITEM z I MEETING DATE: TO: FROM: SUBJECT: April 23, 2013 Honorable Mayor and Council Members Nichole Dorr, Recycling Coordinator~D Alexa Terrell, Recycling Intern. 'Yf Single-Use Bag Waste Reduction })( APPROVED BY:.-=-...,.~/~r-:--=--:-:--- Ton' ashorrok, Town Manager RECOMMENDATION: Council direct staff to work with stakeholders to develop an ordinance to ban single-use plastic checkout bags in Truckee. BACKGROUND: The SaveMart in Truckee reports the distribution of 12,000 plastic bags and approximately 1,000 paper bags each week. Truckee CVS indicated that 4,000 plastic bags and less than 100 paper bags are provided to shoppers each week. These two stores alone, distribute over 800,000 plastic bags annually. Furthermore, the Natural Resource Defense Council found that the average American family obtains 1,500 plastic shopping bags annually. These plastic bags are used for an average of 12 minutes before they are disposed. With limited recycling options available, most plastic bags end up in landfills or as litter. According to Californians Against Waste, of the over 19 billion plastic bags that are generated in California each year only 1-3% of the bags are recycled, leaving an estimated 147,000 tons of waste. Single-use plastic carryout bags have been found to contribute substantially to litter found in the environment and to have adverse effects on wildlife. Plastic bag litter clogs storm drains, contaminates soil and water, and are often mistaken as food to fish and wildlife. In addition, plastic bag litter leads to increased cleanup costs to public agencies. Reducing single-use bag waste is important for the health of our community and for the protection of natural resources and the environment. In California, 71 jurisdictions have already adopted single-use bag ordinances designed to significantly reduce environmental impacts of single-use plastic bags, reduce litter and cleanup costs and achieve waste diversion goals. In addition, two bills have been introduced in the state legislature, Assembly Bill 158 (Levine) and Senate Bill 405 (Padilla), both would ban the distribution of plastic bags and allow for the sale of paper and reusable bags. Since there have been several unsuccessful attempts at a state wide ban in the past, staff recommends moving forward with a local ordinance. In order to understand the interest of the community and their level of support on a possible bag Page 1 of 22

2 AGENDA ITEM, ban, staff conducted two surveys, one targeting consumers and the other targeting business owners. A total of 1,112 community members responded to the consumer survey. The results showed that about 70% of those who responded are in favor of some kind of ordinance, with about 7% undecided and 23% not in favor. A total of 46 businesses responded to the business survey, with 21 business owners (51.2%) in support, and 20 (48.8%) not in favor; five of the respondents declined to answer the survey question. As an initial outreach effort, Town staff has met with the Truckee Downtown Merchants Association (TDMA) to discuss the possible drafting of an ordinance. The TDMA has formed a sub-committee of their members and are assisting staff with outreach to the merchants. Although the TDMA has yet to issue a formal position on a possible ban there appears to be general support of the initiative. The TDMA has expressed interest in working with staff on further development of the proposed ordinance. The TDMA is already conducting outreach to other merchants and has indicated that they would assist in outreach to the general public if the ordinance is pursed. In addition to the above, staff has conducted research on the success and challenges of implementing an ordinance to ban plastic bags. Staff has learned that there are grassroots efforts to ban plastic bags in Nevada County, including Nevada City and Grass Valley, and Placer County in the Lake Tahoe basin. Staff has reached out to the various groups within the region and continues to explore opportunities for collaboration and resources sharing. If directed by Council to proceed, staff would solicit additional input from merchants and community members and draft a proposed ordinance. Information regarding the proposed ordinance would be posted to the Town website and Facebook pages. Such an ordinance would seek to reduce the use of single-use carryout bags, reduce the amount and visibility of litter associated with the bags and encourage the use of reusable bags. An unintended consequence of reducing the availability of plastic bags could be the increase use of paper bags, which would also have undesirable impacts on the environment. To lessen the potential for these negative impacts, the proposed ordinance could require a charge for each paper bag provided by retailers. The proposed ordinance could also require that any paper bag available for purchase be made of at least 40% post-consumer recycled material with no old growth fiber and be 100% recyclable. Including a charge on recycled paper bags is important to the success of a single-use carryout bag ordinance to change consumer behavior. If an ordinance includes a charge for paper bags, the affected businesses would levy and retain the paper bag charges which would help to defray the costs of the bags. Adoption of an ordinance would be considered a "project" under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). If an ordinance is. pursued and adopted at a future meeting, the Town Council would concurrently determine the ordinance to be categorically exempt from CEQA. Staff believes a categorical exemption is appropriate on the basis that banning the use of plastic bags and charging a fee on paper bags will deter all single-use bags, while encouraging reusable bags, thus having an overall positive impact on protection of natural resources and the environment. If directed to proceed, staff intends to draft an ordinance and solicit feedback from the TDMA and other interested community members. Staff will continue to work with regional partners in an attempt to identify areas for collaboration. If the staff recommendation is approved it is anticipated that a proposed ordinance would be brought back to the Council for consideration in late June. Page 2 of 22

3 AGENDA ITEM. FISCAL IMPACT: None. PUBLIC COMMUNICATIONS: Agenda Posting. Community Survey. TDMA presentations and sub-committee meeting. Postings on Town of Truckee and Keep Truckee Green Facebook Pages. Articles in the Sierra Sun and related publications. ATTACHMENTS: Reusable Bag Initiative Survey- Consumer and Business Results. Concerns and Answers Document. List of California Jurisdictions Currently Implementing Bag Ordinances. Page 3 of 22

4 Reusable Bag Initiative- Consumer Questionniare h Survey Monkey 1. How often do you currently use reusable bags? Percent Count Always. ~ % 294 More than half the time. 37.7% 418 Less than half the time. 22.5% 250 Never. 14.1% 157 answered question 1,11 0 skipped question 2 2. When you don't use reusable bags, do you choose paper or plastic? Percent Count --~-~--- - Paper. 59.5% ~ Plastic. 47.3% 516 answered question 1,092 skipped question 20 1 of 4 Page 4 of 22

5 3. When you select plastic checkout bags, what do you do with them after their initial use? Percent Count Reuse them in varying ways. Dispose of them in the garbage. c::::::::j % ~-- 9.3% Bring them back to the store to be recycled. 29.0% never use plastic checkout bags. c::::::::j 9.3% 103 answered question 1,104 skipped question 8 4. In order to increase reusable bag use and decrease waste, The Town of Truckee is considering banning plastic checkout bags and imposing a fee on paper bags. Do you support this initiative? Percent Count Yes, I support this initiative and its attempts to increase reusable bag use in Truckee. Not sure, I need more information. c=j 70.0% % 75 No, this is not a good way to increase reusable bag use and decrease waste. 23.9% 263 If you do not support this initiative, please explain why. 287 answered question 1,102 skipped question 10 2 of 4 Page 5 of 22

6 5. The Town of Truckee is considering imposing a $0.20 fee on paper checkout bags and a ban on all plastic checkout bags. Businesses would retain the revenue generated by the fee in order to cover the costs associated with implementing the ban on plastic bags. What are your thoughts on such a fee? Percent Count I support the $0.20 fee on paper bags and agree that it would incentivize consumers to bring their own bags. I do not think that the $0.20 fee would be enough to influence reusable bag use. 63.5% ~ % 123 The $0.20 fee is too high. I believe that a smaller amount would influence consumer behavior without being burdensome. 26.8% ~~----~-----~ ~ If you do not agree with the $0.20 fee, please explain why not. What do you suggest in order to increase reusable bag use? 379 answered question skipped question of 4 Page 6 of 22

7 6. In order to maximize the effects of this initiative, the Town of Truckee is considering applying the ban on plastic bags and imposing fees on paper bags to all Truckee businesses. How do you think that this will affect your shopping habits? It will incentivize me to bring a reusable bag to everywhere 1 shop Percent Count 59.7% 632 It will influence me to use reusable bags at Truckee's larger grocery stores, but I do not anticipate bringing a reusable bag to smaller businesses. 19.7% 209 It will not change my behavior. 23.1% 245 answered question 1, skipped question What Truckee businesses do you think that this initiative should affect? Percent Count All businesses. 59.7% 660 Only Truckee's large grocery stores such as Safeway and Save Mart. 20.7% 229 None. 20.5% 226 answered question 1,105 skipped question 7 4 of 4 Page 7 of 22

8 Reusable Bag Initiative A Survey Monkey 1. How much does your business rely on plastic checkout bags? Percent Count We only use plastic checkout bags. 13.3% 6 We use both plastic and paper checkout bags. 28.9% 13 We only use paper checkout bags. 35.6% 16 We don't use checkout bags. 24.4% 11 answered question 45 skipped question ' 2. How often do customers bring their own bags? Percent Count Never 56.5% 26 Sometimes 45.7% -==:::-::-:-::-::-----::-::-=~... ""' ~ --~ ~ -~- Always 0.0% 0 21 answered question 46 skipped question 0 1 of 4 Page 8 of 22

9 3. If your business does not currently distribute paper checkout bags, would acquiring and integrating them be a problem? Percent Count We already use paper checkout bags. 59.5% 22 We currently do not use paper checkout ba(js, but it would not be difficult to switch from plastic to paper. 24.3% 9 It would be difficult for our business to switch from plastic to paper. 16.2% 6 If it would be difficult to supply customers with paper checkout bags, please explain why. 11 answered question 37 skipped question 9 2 of 4 Page 9 of 22

10 4. In order to increase the use of reusable bags and decrease waste, the Town of Truckee is researching a potential ban on plastic bags; the ordinance may also allow for retailers to charge a small fee on all paper bags that are distributed at checkout. Do you foresee this having a negative effect on your business? Percent Count No. Our business would support a ban on plastic bags and a fee imposed on paper checkout bags. 51.2% ~-~ '' '.o Yes, this would negatively affect 48.8% 20 our business If a ban on plastic bags and fee imposed on paper bags would negatively affect your business, please explain why. 18 answered question skipped question 5 3 of 4 Page 10 of 22

11 5. To help cover the cost of paper bags, retailers may be allowed to charge consumers a fee up to $0.20 per bag. Retailers would retain the revenue generated by the fee in order to cover the costs associated with implementing the ban on plastic bags. What are your business's thoughts on such a fee? Percent Count We support the $0.20 fee on paper bags and agree that it would incentivize our customers to bring their own bags while also covering the costs of i~plementing the ban on plastic bags. 48.8% 21 We do not think that the $0.20 fee would be enough to influence reusable bag use and/or the $0.20 fee is not enough to cover the costs of implementing a ban on plastic bags. D 2.3% The $0.20 fee is too high and we believe that it would deter customers from frequenting our business. 48.8% 21 If you do not agree with the $0.20 fee, please explain why not. What do you suggest in order for the Town of Truckee to best accommodate your business? 19 answered question 43 skipped question 3 4 of 4 Page 11 of 22

12 Town of Truckee ~... ::]f::... " """ I<EEP Plastic Bag Ordinance Concerns and Answers The Town oftruckee is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of its citizens as well as making sound business and environmental policies for the well-being of our town's future. The Town asked for your feedback and you answered so now it is our turn to respond. The Town hopes to provide answers to all your concerns so if you have some that did not get answered in this document please contact: or General Concerns 1. Concern: Why can't we _just continue recycling plastic bags like before?. 2. Concern: Are you restricting the plastic bags that carry produce. meat and bulk items? 3. Concern: When I purchase a bottle of wine or other alcoholic item will I be forced to buy a paper bag? Economic Concerns 4. Concern: Is there even an economic problem with using plastic bags? 5. Concern: The fee on paper bags is a tax. 6. Concern: Tourists will be angry about the fee and choose to shop/ travel elsewhere. 7. Concern: Our local retail businesses will be negatively impacted bv charging customers a fee for a bag. 8. Concern: The Ordinance will have a disproportionate impact on the low income population in Truckee. 9. Concern: Our economy is already terrible; we don't want to pay more for bags on top of everything else. 10. Concern: Americans in the plastic bag industry will lose their jobs if we stop supplying single-use plastic bags at check-out. 11. Concern: Reusable bags come from overseas so we won't be supporting our national/local economies. 12. Concern: I reuse my plastic grocery bags as garbage-liners and dog poop pick-up bags, I will have to buy plastic for these purposes now. Environmental Concerns 13. Concern: If plastic bags are no longer available then people will just use paper bags which also have an environmental impact. 14. Concern: Why can't the grocery stores just be required to switch to compostable or biodegradable plastic bags? 15. Concern: Reusable bags have an environmental cost as well as plastic and paper bags. Health Concerns 16. Concern: Reusable bags are never washed and contain bacteria that could potentially contaminate the food we buy (study on reusable bags in Arizona, California). 17. Concern: Reusable bags have been linked toe coli hospital visits in San Francisco (Statistics Article linking increase in E coli with plastic bag ban San Francisco). 18. Concern: A reusable bag was linked to a norovirus outbreak in Oregon (Soccer girls get infected after they come in contact with reusable bag). Page 12 of 22

13 1. Concern: Why can't we just continue recycling plastic bags like before? The Town of Truckee encourages recycling of our valuable resources. AB 2449, a 6 year pilot program ending 2013, requires all Californian grocery stores to provide plastic bag recycling bins. Truckee's bins are currently located inside Safeway, Save Mart, CVS and Rite Aid. However, the majority of plastic bags distributed by stores are not recycled and end up on our roadsides, in our forests, in landfills and in our lakes and rivers. While 91% of Americans have access to plastic bag recycling', only about 1-3% of plastic bags make it to the recycling bins 2 After these bags are acquired for recycling; 57% are exported to countries with more demand for plastic and cheaper labor costs. The recycling cost for one ton of plastic is $4,000 while the recycled product can be sold for only $32'. Therefore, recycling is not a great economic or environmental alternative as it uses fuel, water and energy in the process. While recycling certain metals and plastics is a good option, reusing products whenever possible is more economically and environmentally friendly. Reusing 3-4 bags over the span of 3 years not only saves everyone money from external costs but enhances our surroundings by reducing unsightly litter. 2. Concern: Are you restricting the plastic bags that carry produce, meat and bulk items? This ordinance will only apply to plastic bags distributed at check-out. There are alternatives to these small plastic produce bags however the technology and market are not there yet to make them a viable option to introduce in the ordinance. Check out the internet and local stores to find some reusable produce and snack bags. 3. Concern: When I purchase a bottle of wine or other alcoholic item will I be forced to buy a paper bag? This is an often misinterpreted law. There is no law requiring customers to bag their alcoholic purchases at grocery or convenience stores.' It is most likely mistaken for the "doggy bag" law where a partially consumed wine or beer container from an "eating place" can be brought home as long as it is placed in a bag and in the trunk of the car to show no intention of drinking while operating a vehicle'. See California code nchem is try.com/media/pressreleasest ranscri pts/ ACC -news-releases/5 tudy-over-seventy- Percent -of -Americans-Can Recycle-Piastic-Bags-and-Wraps-Locally.html 2 http :11 calrecycle. ca.gov f Actions/Oocu ments/85/2011/33 7/Piastic%20Ca rryout%20 Bag%20Presentati on. pdf I. ir. org/waste/wastefacts.htm I 4 bc.ca.gov /trade/ia %20Bagging%20Aicoholic%20 Beverages.pd f 5 f pu bs/vctop/ d 11/vc htm 6 Prepared by Alexa Terrell- Town of Truckee Recycling Intern Page 13 Page of 222

14 4. Concern: Is there even an economic problem with using plastic bags? Plastics bags cost a mere $0.01 to buy, so they make a cheap and easy way to transport items from retail and grocery stores.' However, not contained in the 1 cent cost are the external costs including waste pick up, environmental damage, pollution that negatively affects the health of people and animals, and costs associated with storm drain clean-up. 8 Not to mention, solid waste facilities have a problem with plastic bags that get stuck in the machinery. They must shut-off the system and unclog the machines before they can continue. San Jose estimated their costs to be $1,000,000 a year in repairing and maintenance due to these bags.' Plastic bags clog storm drains which cause run-off or flooding and require maintenance to clean-up.' All these added costs are not bought by the stores but paid.for in taxpayers' dollars. 5. Concern: The fee on paper bags is a tax. The proposed $.10 fee on paper bags is to internalize the cost of purchase, recycling and waste clean-up that is currently being paid for as external costs in taxes and more expensive food costs. Each store will be in charge of collecting and maintaining records of the fee; the fee will be used to offset the store's costs of educational program implementation and price of paper. bag purchase. The Town oftruckee will partially fund some of the educational costs. The purpose of the fee is to shoulder those costs onto customers who choose to use single-use bags. 6. Concern: Tourists will be angry about the fee and choose to shop/ travel elsewhere. If the ban was implemented, the Town would provide local and out-of-town people with an advanced warning of the potential plastic bag ordinance. In enforcing the ordinance, a substantial amount of time would be given to retail stores to make customers aware of the future changes, and create signs and enact educational programs before the changes take effect. This will alleviate some of the frustration out-of-towners feel when they encounter the new ordinance. In the United States of America, 111 cities, 11 counties, 1 state and 1 territory have enacted a plastic bag ordinance as of March All over the world, many countries and cities have banned or placed fees on plastic" single-use bags. This means there is a lot of exposure to the idea of plastic bag ordinances and few people would be shocked to find an ordinance in an environmental community such as Truckee. The majority (66.3%) of tourists to the lake Tahoe region are from California". California currently has 7 I dpw.lai:ounty.gov I epd/abo utthebag/pdf /SocioEconom iclm pactstudy _final. pdf I online. wsj. com/a rtide/s B htm 17m od=google news_ wsj 10 fl. us/waste/ retail bags/pages/list_ USA. htm#nyc; u.. /tahoesouth.com/ltva/i mages/t raveit rends-lake T ahoe2.png Prepared by Alexa Terrell- Town of Truckee Recycling Intern Page Page 14 of 322

15 69 cities and counties" with plastic bag ordinances and more are being approved and implemented monthly. This means many tourists are already accustomed to shopping with reusable bags or fees on paper bags. 7. Concern: Our local retail businesses will be negatively impacted by charging customers a fee for a paper bag. Yes, some customers may be surprised that their merchandise does not include a bag, and some locals may choose to do their shopping out of town. However, our community survey (with a large sample size of around 1,100 people) showed 70% of the community in support of a ban on plastic and a fee on paper with 7% undecided. With proper educational opportunities and consumer awareness, customers will likely be willing to support this change. This ordinance could even be an opportunity for local businesses to take the center stage on community education and environmental stewardship As a way to bring awareness to the reusable bag initiative and nurture a positive adjustment to the potential ordinance local businesses could: Collaborate with other local businesses and design 'Truckee Bags' Work with School children to have a bag design contest for their business or a local organization Collaborate with Local organization to donate a part of their bag sales to that organization Have punch cards for each time customers use a reusable bag The fee on paper bags will be kept by the retail stores to cover costs of program implementation (the increased cost of switching from plastic to paper, costs of training employees). The Town oftruckee will be providing the businesses support with consumer education and awareness measures such as signs to alert customers of the ordinance and to remind them to bring their bags. Businesses with special bagging needs (large, sensitive merchandise that requires a specific-sized bag such as artwork) may be eligible for exemptions for a ban on plastic bags. However the plastic bags would be required to have the same fee as the paper bags. The Town will approve exemptions on a case-by-case basis. The Town oftruckee is committed to helping the business community through this shift so please feel free to contact us for ideas to help your business make this a successful transition. 8. Concern: The Ordinance will have a disproportionate impact on the low income population in Truckee. Many cities and counties exempt certain groups of people from a bag fee. If the ban is adopted, Town staff recommends that Truckee adopt exemptions similar to those cities. Those exempt in Truckee would include any customers participating in the California Special Supplemental Food Program for 12 cawrecydes.org/issues/ plastic_ campaign/ plastic_ bags/loca I Prepared by Alexa Terrell- Town of Truckee Recycling Intern Page 15 Page of 422

16 Women, Infants and Children" and any customer participating in the Supplemental Food Program 14, with a reusable bag or recycled paper bag at no cost at the point of sale. Also, the Town of Truckee often distributes reusable bags at Town events and at Truckee Thursdays to help provide individuals with an alternative means of food transportation in our community. 9. Concern: Our economy is already terrible; we don't want to pay more for bags on top of everything else. Customers have the choice of buying a paper bag, using their own bag or simply not using a bag at all. If you choose to buy paper bags then you can always bring them back the next shopping trip. Reusable bags will certainly last longer than paper bags and can be washed but will be slightly more expensive upfront. Over time the reusable bag is much more economical than a paper bag and the waste of the single-use bags is diminished. A socioeconomic analysis by Los Angeles County estimated the per-capita cost of switching from singleuse to reusable bags was $S whereas the hidden costs of using single-use bags is approximately $18-$30 per person a year 16 Reusable bags also have the benefit of being larger and more durable than plastic or paper bags. Therefore each trip you will have less trips to carry your items up the stairs. If you have your own shopping basket, you won't need to use bags at all; bring it from the store to your kitchen. As for those quick trips to the store where you purchase one or two items, no bag is really necessary at all. 10. Concern: Americans in the plastic bag industry will lose their jobs if we stop supplying single-use plastic bags at check-out. Single-use plastic bag films are not the majority of business for plastic companies, and plastic manufactures can choose where the future of their companies will go. Some ofthese companies also make reusable bags that can still be sold under the new bag laws. As with every business; if you don't pay attention to your customer's wants then you will lose their business. In this case, an ideal product would be durable enough for multiple uses, easily machine or hand washable, easy to carry, and easy to bring in your car, purse or back pack. If the plastic companies do not shift their focus to what their customers want then they will indeed lose business. We hope that they will see the potential to shift their focus from single-use to superior environmentally-friendly bags for the future focus of their companies. 13 Article 2 (commencing with Section ) if Chapter 1 of Part 2 of Division 106 of the California Health and Safety Code 14 Chapter 10 (commencing with section 15500) of Part 3 of Division 9 of the California Welfare and Institutions Code dpw.lacou nty.gov j epd/a boutth ebag/p OF /SocioEconom idm pactstudy_ fi na I. pdf 16 online. wsj.com/article/5 B htm I?mod=googlenews _ wsj Prepared by Alexa Terrell- Town oftruckee Recycling Intern Page 16 Page of 522

17 Support American companies by purchasing reusable bags that are made in the USA and will be recycled in the USA (see# 15 for more information). 11. Concern: Reusable bags come from overseas so we won't be supporting our national/local economies. While many reusable bags can be manufactured overseas there are companies all over the USA that are popping up, some are even located in California. Check out the internet and encourage your grocery stores to stock local products. 12. Concern: I reuse my plastic grocery bags as garbage-liners and dog poop pickup bags, I will have to buy plastic for these purposes now. Plastic single-use bags were first introduced to grocery stores in So what did our parents and grandparents generations do without these bags? Well they probably didn't use garbage liners in their small trash bins around the house. They kept their messier garbage items contained in the kitchen and dumped the small bins into the main kitchen bag to take out their trash. Many alternatives are available to plastic dog waste bags now. New technology has created flushable dog poop bags which provide proper treatment of bacteria and parasites at water treatment plants. Before plastic, dog owners picked up poop with newspaper and disposed of it accordingly. Other cities offer a Dog port-o-potty that sanitizes the poop before removing it from the park. There are many solutions to avoid buying more plastic products for your waste disposal needs. Consider all the other plastic bags in your home; do you buy bread in plastic bags? Could you reuse that cereal box liner? With all the plastic products we have lying around it would be good to start getting creative. If you have any other ideas share them with us. Unfortunately, even reusing plastic bags for waste products still sends them to the landfill. Such as blue bags and green bags used to haul the recycling and yard trimmings, in the future the Town would like to eliminate the need to have single-use garbage liners for waste pick-up. 13. Concern: If plastic bags are no longer available then people will just use paper bags which also have an environmental impact. The benefits of paper bags versus plastic are that paper bags do not have the same visibility as plastic bags as road side litter. Paper bags are also easily compostable and biodegradable compared to the perpetual plastic bags which can take an estimated 1000 years to degrade in landfills. Paper bags are not as light as plastic and so don't unintentionally become litter like plastic bags often do. Prepared by Alexa Terrell Town of Truckee Recycling Intern Page 17 Page of 622

18 Paper bags have an 80% higher capacity than plastic bags so that means about half as many paper bags would be used compared to plastic." Neither paper nor plastic is a great option. The best option is to bring your own bag, basket or don't use a bag at all. We have become conditioned to placing our items in a shopping cart or basket then in a bag then into a car. Why not just keep a basket in your car for your groceries and transfer the items directly from the cart to the basket to your house? If you are walking or taking the bus then a sturdy reusable bag is your best option because they have a larger capacity and won't rip like the plastic or paper bags. 14. Concern: Why can't we just require the grocery stores to switch to compostable or biodegradable plastic bags? The Federal government defines Compostable: "A claim that a product or package is compostable should be substantiated by competent and reliable scientific evidence that all the materials in the product or package will break down into, or otherwise become part of, usable compost (e.g., soil-conditioning material, mulch) in a safe and timely manner in an appropriate com posting program or facility, or in a home compost pile or device 18." Labeling for compostable products is legal in California under strict standards 19 In order for a product to be labeled "compostable" it must pass a test that certifies 20 : % of the product will biodegrade (breakdown) within 180 days 2. 60% of the product will disintegrate to pieces 2mm or smaller within 180 days 3. Once broken down the product is not ecotoxic (won't leave heavy metals in soil) The problem with compostable plastic bags is that most of them require a commercial com posting facility, unless otherwise stated, to actually achieve this standard. Truckee does not have that facility so the bags will end up in the landfill and will not be com posted. The federal government defines biodegradable: An unqualified claim that o product or package is degradable, biodegradable or photodegradable should be substantiated by competent and reliable scientific evidence that the entire product or package will completely break down and return to nature,!.&, decompose into elements found in nature within a reasonably short period of time after customary disposatl' d pw.lacounty.gov I epd/aboutthebag/pdf /Socia Econom icl ~ pactstudy _final. pdf /ftc.gov /bcp/grnru le/gwdes htm 19 /legi nfo.legislature.ca.gov /faces/biiinavc!ien t.xhtm I?bil l_id= sb Prepared by Alexa Terrell- Town of Truckee Recycling Intern Page Page 18 of 722

19 Labeling anything biodegradable is misleading. Consumers beware: this is called "green-washing". Biodegradable has no specific standards and seeing that everything degrades given enough time (1000 years for a plastic bag anyone?) anything could technically be labeled "degradable". The state of California prohibits labeling anything "biodegradable" to protect consumers from buying a product they believe is better for the environment. Products that are labeled "bio" can also be misleading; bio products typically mean some of the materials used in production are plant based (soy beans, starch). This does not mean they are compostable. 15. Concern: Reusable bags have environmental costs as well as plastic and paper bags. This is true; everything that is produced has some kind of cost to the environment. The best anyone can do is to manage these costs and choose the item that has the least impact. Reusable bags do have a higher initial cost than plastic or paper bags but the great thing about reusable bags is, well, they are reusable. California law defines a reusable bag as "one that: can be used multiple times (125 times, carrying 22 pounds over 175 feet), has a minimum volume of 15liters, can be machine washed, cleaned or disinfected, does not contain lead or other heavy metals in toxic amounts, is labeled as specified, and if made o(plastic is at least 2.25 mils thick." A study done by C5U Chico found that after about 8 uses, some reusable bags already have less of an environmental impact than single-use plastic and paper bags 22 So, in order to be considered "reusable", a bag must be able to be used a minimum of 125 times. Over the 'minimum' lifetime of a reusable bag it is far better than a single-use plastic or paper bag. However, it could be reused until the end of time if it bag is durable enough. And when that day comes where the reusable bag rips or gets worn out then it is time to recycle it or "up-cycle" it. Some manufacturers will take your old reusable bags and create rugs from them. For more information about the Zero Waste Program visit: Concern: Reusable bags are never washed and contain bacteria that could potentially contaminate the food we buy (study on reusable bags in Arizona, California 23 ). This study, supported by the American Chemical Council, sampled approximately 85 reusable bags for bacteria. Most bags contained HPC bacteria which are also found in the air, food and drinking water fwww. foodlega l.co m. au/upload s/cross%20contamination%20of%20reusable%20shopping%20bags _ i 171. pdf 24 jwww. van islewater.com/benefits- hpc -bacteria-pou poe-devices Prepared by Alexa Terrell- Town of Truckee Recycling Intern Page 19 Page of 822

20 HPC bacteria aren't disease causing or associated with disease causing bacteria. Also, this study's sample size is very small which makes it hard to give any significance to the results they have found. Seven ofthe reusable bags contained E coli. While some E coli species can make humans sick, none of thee coli found in this study were disease-causing. In fact, the majority of E coli are harmless and already found in our bodies and may be beneficial". This study further proves that bacteria are found on all surfaces and washing your bags will eliminate 99.9% of the bacteria. Although this study did not find any harmful bacteria in the bags, it is possible (as with any surface) to have cross contamination ifthe surface is not washed regularly. 17. Concern: Reusable bags have been linked to E coli hospital visits in San Francisco (Statistics Article linking increase in E coli with plastic bag ban San Francisco.) 26 A statistical study done by two lawyers linked the bag ban in San Francisco with an increase in visits to the emergency room due toe coli infections. According to Tomas Aragon, a medical epidemiologist and Health Officer of San Francisco, the study has some major failings". The design of the study did not follow the specific persons that were sent to the hospital so it is not known whether they were using reusable bags. The study does not examine the source of their infections but concludes that a slight rise in hospital visits is associated with a new law. The study did not examine all the possible sources of an E coli infection. The study only examined emergency rooms in hospitals but people with infections may go to many other sources for care so data from ER is incomplete in representing San Francisco's total E coli infections over time. Dr. Aragon found in their surveillance data that there has been no increase in E coli infections. Although Dr. Aragon refuted the study he did admit that there is potential for reusable bags to be contaminated. Washing your bags regularly and using a specific bag for meat purchases greatly reduces the risk of contamination in the event that the meat product leaks. Read Dr. Tomas Aragon's rebuttal in the footnotes for more information. 18. Concern: A reusable bag was linked to a norovirus outbreak in Oregon (Soccer girls get infected after they come in contact with reusable bag.) 28 Norovirus is a highly infectious virus that is easily transferred by contact with an infected person, drinking from an infected source or touching an infected surface". Dr. Repp who conducted the study; stated "Once norovirus lands on *any* object, contact with that object can easily lead to infection", and 25 medica I newstoday.com/ a rtid es/ ph p 26 jwww.cawrecydes.orgjfiles/wharton_ SFreusa blebagskills _paper.pdf 27 /blogs. berkeley.edu/wp-content/ uploads/2013/02/sf-health-office r -ME MO-re-Reusable- Bag-Study_ V8-FIN 1. pdf 28 oregon-norovi rus-traced-to-reusabl e-g rocery-bag/ 29 m ons.ed u/ offices/health-center I norovi rus. php Prepared by Alexa Terrell- Town oftruckee Recycling Intern Page Page 20 of 922

21 "Obviously, if an object is designed to be reusable, it is more likely to spread infection than one that is not, by its very nature." 30 The material of the object is not important. In this case, if the bag in that bathroom had been a single-use plastic bag used to transport the cookies for lunch the outcome would have been the same. The real problem, in this case, was leaving an object near the infected girl then not sanitizing it afterwards. It is a good idea not to leave food or objects used for food in the bathroom and to wash your hands frequently to prevent spreading diseases. Of course washing you reusable bags regularly is also a good idea Prepared by Alexa Terrell- Town of Truckee Recycling Intern Page Page 21 of 1022

22 , Single-Use Bag Ordinances inca (updated March 19, 2013), convenience ~Californians \!';;/ Against Wastca " Street. Suite 420, sacramento, CA (916) Page 22 of 22