Nevada City waiting on Grass Valley for plastic bag ban |

Nevada City waiting on Grass Valley for plastic bag ban

Christopher Rosacker
Staff Writer

Paper bags were put into the plastic bags for a customer at SPD market, Zion Street, Nevada City on Friday afternoon.

Leaders in Nevada City are ready to ban single-use plastic bags, but are waiting for their counterparts in Grass Valley to do so too.

"I am completely for a ban," said Nevada City Mayor Sally Harris. "I would sign off tonight if Grass Valley were going hand-in-hand with it."

Harris' desire to wait for Grass Valley to get on board with the bag ban is tied to SPD Markets, a local grocery store with locations in both Grass Valley and Nevada City. Owner David Painter has expressed support of a bag ban, but expressed a desire that it be county-wide, affecting all businesses evenly.

"I can't move forward with putting a key business at a competitive disadvantage," Harris said.

Ultimately, members of the Nevada City council tabled the discussion on the bag ban and scheduled it to be resumed at the first meeting in February, allowing for council members to reach out to their Grass Valley counterparts about the possibility of a unified abolition or reduction of the plastic bag dispense from stores.

"I don't think we should stand back and wait for others to act," said Councilman Robert Bergman. "I think we should lead, rather than just wait."

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A ban on single-use plastic bags has been percolating for at least a year, when members of the Bag Busters coalition to ban bags joined with students from local schools to petition the three main western Nevada County governmental agencies to adopt a ban. Representatives of Nevada County, which doesn't have as many retailers as the two towns, have indicated a desire to let the two cities figure out their own bans first.

Located in eastern Nevada County, Truckee's plastic bag ban, which was approved in October, took effect Jan. 15 for grocers and food vendors. Customers there now have the choice to pay five cents for a paper bag, 10 cents for a reusable plastic bag, 99 cents for a reusable fabric bag or remember to bring in their own reusable bags.

At a Jan. 9 meeting of the Nevada County Solid and Hazardous Waste Commission, Grass Valley City Councilman Howard Levine reportedly indicated that Grass Valley hasn't even begun to gauge the support or concern of its residents or businesses.

"I don't want wait another nine months, a year or two years until Grass Valley initiates a dialogue," said Councilman Duane Strawser.

In an Jan. 15 interview with The Union, Levine said he would like to see the Grass Valley Downtown Association and the Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce assemble retailers to determine where they stand on the matter, to allow his fellow council members to have an informed idea of the potential impact of a bag ban.

"I think it is the right thing to do. I'd hate to see us wait while Grass Vally comes around, if they do," said Councilwoman Jennifer Ray.

To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email or call 530-477-4236.

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