Moving ahead with banning bags in Manzanita

Plastic bags are one of the primary forms of discarded litter on the beach in Manzanita, but more so plastic in general represents a vast majority of litter found all along the world’s coastlines.

In a continuation to the North Coast Citizen’s previous coverage on the topic, a group of citizens recently approached the Manzanita City Council regarding the potential ban on single-use plastic bags within the city limits.

By Brian Cameron
During the July City Council meeting in Manzanita councilors heard a proposal by a group of citizens who have made it their work over the last few years to try and institute a ban on plastic bags within the city limits of Manzanita.
“The citizens in the audience at the meeting were very supportive,” said co-organizer Karen Reddick-Yurka. “The Council was very interested in our findings and asked us a lot of questions.”
The effort was originally started with Jan Behrs, of Manzanita, who had moved to the area a few years prior and found the wanton usage and disposal of plastic bags in the beachside community to be something of concern.
“I was shocked at how much,” said Behrs. “I then started investigating and I learned most modern plastics are basically stuck in our environment forever.”
Behrs then took it upon herself at the time to start approaching businesses about the idea of using an alternative to plastic and she was surprised at how much support the community had for her cause.
After she began the process Behrs quickly found more supportive community members after organizing a screening of “Bag-It,” an award winning private film, at NCRD which follows activist Jeb Berrier in his quest to find out the fate of the ever growing pile of plastic-bag waste.
Some of their efforts had them break Manzanita up into three separate areas so each volunteer could approach businesses in order to get signatures and perspectives regarding current use of plastic bags in the community. According to Behrs many of the business owners were willing to make the change as many of them are already on board with not using plastic bags.
As part of the overall effort the main goal was to get organized and to approach the Manzanita City Council with their ordinance proposal to officially ban single-use plastic bags. Part of that organizational process involved the collection of signatures from locals and visitors about their thoughts on the idea of the city banning plastic bags.
“We wrote a simple, straightforward ordinance and presented it to the City Council,” said Behrs. “At this point the council needs to revise it and hopefully put it onto the August council meeting agenda.”
It should be noted that the particular types of bags in question are only the type seen at grocery store at the check out aisle. Clear plastic bags for produce and bulk items as well as other types of bags like dog-poo collection sacks are not included in the ban.
“Of course we don’t know at this point how the ordinance we presented will be revised by Jerry [Taylor] and the councilors,” said Behrs. “Nor do we know what the vote will be.”