A proposed ban on plastic bags moved closer to implementation last week.
The Sonoma County Waste Management Agency began the first steps Wednesday, to begin an environmental review of the ban, according to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.
The ban would prevent retail establishments from providing single-use plastic bags as of July 1, 2013. The ban would apply to retail shops, excluding restaurants, and grocery stores.
The ban would also legislate costs of paper bags: initially outlets would charge a minimum of 10 center per bag, a year later costs would increase to 25 cents.
“I want everybody to understand we’re not just talking about grocery stores,” Janet Coleson, the agency’s legal counsel, told the Press Democrat.
The proposed ordinance charges first-time violators a $100 fine, second violations get a $200 fine and third violations, with in a year, get a $500 fine.
The agency is still unsure if the ban will take the form of a countywide rule – which would enforce the ban with the creation of an administrative enforcement ordinance – or a local ordinance, which would be passed individually by municipality.
Environmental review may be expensive, the agency estimates costs at between $80,000 to $150,000.
Last year, the Sonoma City Council voiced support, voting unanimously in an unofficial "psudeo-motion" to join the