Ban on plastic water bottles in South Lake Tahoe on city council's agenda | South Lake Tahoe

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – The South Lake Tahoe City Council is holding its next meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 5:30 p.m. For a full agenda in both English and Spanish, and for instructions on how to participate, visit HERE.

The Council will be hearing an item to amend the current polystyrene and plastic food packaging regulations. What is being proposed is a municipal use and commercial ban on single-use plastic water bottles smaller than one gallon to be phased in over the next two years. Entities around the world are either already banning single-use bottles, or are considering new regulations. While the proposed changes to the South Lake Tahoe ordinance only regulate water bottles, other locations are looking at soda sales as well.

If approved, the municipal use ban would be effective on April 22 (Earth Day), 2023, and the commercial ban would be effective one year later, on April 22, 2024.

The proposed ordinance also removes exceptions for hardship and polystyrene raw food packaging, makes the City the enforcement agency for the state’s
Single-Use Foodware Accessories and Condiments law, and makes other edits for clarity and consistency with state laws that came into effect after the City’s original ordinance was adopted in 2018.

If approved, the ordinance would read:

4.175.030 Polystyrene ban.
A. No food provider shall sell or otherwise provide prepared food in EPS single-use foodservice ware.
B. No vendor shall sell or otherwise provide EPS foodservice ware or expanded polystyrene products.
C. No person shall distribute EPS foodservice ware or expanded polystyrene products at a city facility or city-affiliated event, and all city concessionaires, lessees, licensees, and permittees for facility use, special events, and temporary activities shall comply with this section. No city funds shall be used to purchase expanded polystyrene products.
D. Products made from expanded polystyrene which are wholly encapsulated or encased by a more durable material are exempt from the provisions of this section. Examples include surfboards, life preservers, and craft supplies which are wholly encapsulated or encased by a more durable material, and coolers encased in hard plastic.
4.175.040 Plastic single-use foodservice ware ban.
No food provider shall sell or otherwise provide plastic single-use foodservice ware except upon request.
4.175.050 Single-use plastic water bottle ban.
A. Effective April 22, 2023, no person shall distribute single-use plastic water bottles at a city facility or city-affiliated event, and all city concessionaires, lessees, licensees, and permittees for facility use, special events, and temporary activities shall comply with this section. No city funds shall be used to purchase single-use plastic water bottles.
B. Effective April 22, 2024, no vendor shall sell single-use plastic water bottles in the City of South Lake Tahoe.
C. The provisions of this section shall not apply in cases of emergency or other city situations where the city manager finds that relying on single-use plastic water bottles is necessary to protect the public health, safety, and welfare, and no reasonable alternative would serve the same purpose, including lack of available potable water due to a natural disaster.
4.175.060 Enforcement and violation – Penalty.
A. A violation of any provision of this chapter by any person, food provider or vendor is subject to the following administrative fines, which shall be appealable pursuant to the procedures in chapter 2.30 of this code.
1. A fine not exceeding $100.00 for a first violation.
2. A fine not exceeding $200.00 for a second violation of this chapter within one year.
3. A fine not exceeding $500.00 for each additional violation of this chapter within one year.
B. In addition to other remedies provided by this chapter or by other law, any violation of this chapter may be remedied by a civil action brought by the city attorney, including but not limited to administrative or judicial nuisance abatement proceedings, civil or criminal code enforcement proceedings, and suits for injunctive relief. The remedies provided by
this chapter are cumulative and in addition to any other remedies available at law or in equity.
C. The city is the authorized enforcement agency for violations of Chapter 5.2 of Part 3 of Division 30 of the California Public Resources Code (Single-Use Foodware Accessories and Condiments). Such violations are subject to a fine of $25 for each day in violation not exceeding $300 per year, which shall be appealable pursuant to the procedures in
chapter 2.30 of this code.
4.175.070 Severability.
If any provision of this chapter, or the application thereof to any person or circumstance, is held invalid or ineffective by any court of competent jurisdiction, or by reason of any preemptive legislation, that invalidity shall not affect the validity of the remaining provisions of this chapter. The city council declares that it would have passed this chapter and each section, subsection, subdivision, sentence, clause and phrase, irrespective of the fact that any one or more sections, subsections, subdivisions,
sentences, clauses, phrases or words be declared invalid.
SECTION 2. The City Council finds that adoption of the proposed Ordinance is exempt from review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) under CEQA Guidelines sections 15061(b)(3) (common sense exemption that CEQA does not apply to projects where it can be seen with certainty that there is no possibility that the action may have a significant effect on the environment), 15307 (Actions by Regulatory Agencies for Protection of Natural Resources) and 15308 (Actions by Regulatory Agencies for Protection of the Environment) because it is an action taken by the City in its
regulatory capacity to protect natural resources and the environment. Adopting the proposed Ordinance would protect the environment by reducing plastic and polystyrene waste and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transporting and recycling single-use plastic water bottles.
SECTION 3. The City Clerk is directed to certify this Ordinance and cause it to be published in the manner required by law.
SECTION 4. This Ordinance shall become effective on January 1, 2023


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