CARLSBAD, Calif. — Carlsbad City Council on Tuesday unanimously passed three ordinances Tuesday to reduce single-use plastics and limit the pollution balloons can cause when released.

The city adopted a sustainable materials management plan late last year and the ordinances introduced this week represent big steps in implementing that plan.

“It’s become so much less controversial for city councils and elected officials to tackle this issue locally,” said Mitch Silverstein, police coordinator with the Surfrider Association.

The city will expand restrictions on single-use plastic bags to go beyond just grocery stores. In Carlsbad, this policy will now include all retail and restaurants, so expect a charge unless you bring your own.

“It’s a minimum of 10 cents. A store could choose to charge more and some of them have the larger more heavy-duty bags they charge a couple of dollars for,” explained Jamie Wood, environmental management director for the City of Carlsbad.

This particular ordinance will go into effect for retail in July 2023 and for restaurants in July 2024.

“I’d be very pleased if anything against the balloons got past when I go into a grocery store. I’ll take as much hygiene as I can get,” Carlsbad resident Glen Bernard said.

Other coastal communities like Encinitas and Solana Beach have banned the sale and release of helium balloons altogether, while Carlsbad took the step to stop the intentional release of balloons.

“With this ordinance, our goal is really education to let people understand the importance of not releasing the balloons and the environmental harm they can cause, as well as the cleanup that’s required,” Wood said.

Lastly, also passing with full support, Carlsbad will crack down on single-use plastic bottles, prohibiting them at city facilities and any events on city property.

These two ordinances will have a second reading and go into effect 30 days later. The city says it is focusing on education rather than enforcement, but if repeated violations occur there could be a fine or suspension of event permit.