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Palm Springs City Council votes on plastic bags, food trucks

By Jeff Stahl, KESQ News Channel 3 Morning News Anchor, jstahl@kesq.com
Francinni Zabata, Reporter, francinni.zabata@cbslocal2.com
Published On: Mar 20 2014 09:15:17 AM CDT
Updated On: Mar 20 2014 08:30:00 PM CDT
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -

Shoppers will soon have to plan ahead to avoid extra fees when shopping in Palm Springs.

The city council voted Wednesday evening to ban stores from using reusable plastic shopping bags, a convenience shoppers now enjoy.

The plastic bags ban will require shoppers to use some other type of bag from home, or be charged 10 cents for a paper bag from the store.

Currently most shoppers do not go to the store with their own bags.

"I have a big family, do you know how many grocery bags I take out of my car? Like I'm not even joking, its 20-25 grocery bags out of my car. I don't think I'm going to be buying 20-25 reusable grocery bags," said mother and Palm Springs resident Bobby Westvrooke.

Customers would see the extra fee get tacked onto their grocery bills. The money would then go to the store itself, not the city.

Come shoppers said they don't mind the fee, it would force them to remember to bring their own bags. Plastic bags have been criticized for the environmental damage they cause when thrown away irresponsibly.

"I think it's a really good thing, I've been using my bags for a very long time. I think its environmentally irresponsible to use single-use plastic bags," said Jensen's grocery shopper Jeff Wright.

The city says stores will have the option to *not* charge shoppers an extra fee for paper bags. The ban goes into effect May 1st, but stores will have six months to a year to transition out of using plastic bags. The city is also offering stores a grant to help them transition into fully using paper bags.

Palm Springs is the first city in the Coachella Valley to adopt such a law, although others are also considering the idea promoted by the Coachella Valley Association of Governments.

Wright said he's for anything that will help our environment.

"All you have to do is drive from Palm Springs to Desert Hot Springs and its just mile after mile of plastic bags around desert landscape and its pretty horrible," he said.

The city of Palm Desert approved a $58,000 program in January to purchase reusable cloth bags for residents along with an educational program teaching of plastic bag consequences.

State lawmakers are also considering a statewide plastic bags ban.

In other business, the Palm Springs City Council also placed a six month hold on food trucks.

Council members said they want to adopt an ordinance deciding when and where the mobile restaurants on wheels can open for business.