BRENTWOOD -- Some Brentwood leaders are interested in studying the possibility of joining other Bay Area cities in the banning of plastic grocery bags to combat blight and help the environment.
Last week, a majority of the Brentwood City Council asked city staff to complete research on how to reduce the use of plastic bags or find alternatives to their use among local grocery stores and retailers. City leaders in support of this potential ordinance said the single-use plastic bags often led to increased trash on city streets.
"It appears that a tremendous amount of cities are banning this," said Brentwood Mayor Bob Taylor, who initiated the discussion. "The big (grocery) chains are going to eliminate them. We would be surprised at how many people are bringing in their own bags to the supermarket."
So far, Contra Costa cities that have banned plastic bags include Richmond, Pittsburg and El Cerrito; other East Bay communities are also considering bans in their jurisdictions. In 2007, San Francisco became the first city nationwide to enact this type of ban.
To explore this environmentally sensitive initiative, council members Steve Barr and Gene Clare both supported the city's further research on a potential ban.
On the other hand, council member Erick Stonebarger and Brentwood Vice Mayor Joel Bryant were not in favor of a ban at this time. Both argued that it was a waste of staff resources during a busy time for the city and that it stripped away an individual's right of choice between plastic bags from the store or bags of their own.
"It is individual responsibilities and rights and I don't believe in more regulation for the sake of more regulation," Stonebarger said.
Council members agreed that this wasn't a top priority for staff time right now and some options will be presented to the council in early 2014.