A controversial ordinance in Manhattan Beach, California banning the use of plastic bags by retailers at the point of sale was struck down in the California Court of Appeals. The court decided that the government (Manhattan Beach in this case) cannot arbitrarily “ban” plastic bags without an environmental impact report proving that a ban is warranted. It sets a precedent for truth and fairness to rule as we tackle a key environmental issues in retail packaging.
The court found substantial evidence to support the argument that the ordinance may cause increased use of paper bags, which (the court stated) may have a significant negative impact on the environment, therefore an environmental impact report was required.
According to court documents: “We do not resolve the question of the ultimate merits of whether the plastic bag distribution ban should be implemented. All we are saying is that an environmental impact report must be prepared given that it can be fairly argued based on substantial evidence in the record that the ordinance may have a significant environmental impact.”