Sweeping plastic ban takes effect this month

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IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. -- The most comprehensive plastic ban in San Diego County is set to take effect in Imperial Beach this month.

The ban prohibits plastic straws, utensils, stirrers and bags. Businesses are exempt from the plastic bag restriction but are encouraged to use bags made from biodegradable materials.

The Imperial Beach city council unanimously voted in favor of the ban in May.

"When we discover that plastics are not just an unrecyclable thing but are actually entering the food chain, we've got to do something about it," Councilmember Ed Spriggs said.

Many businesses have already adjusted to the new regulations, but some have called into question the practicality of the ban.

"I think it's absurd and ridiculous," said Rosa Talya, who owns a business in Imperial Beach. "How are they going to eat their food? They have to carry their own spoon or something? That's ridiculous."

Spriggs acknowledged the adjustment has been easier for some businesses than others but said he feels it's important to keep the big picture in mind. "When people understand that it's for the greater good and their own good in the long run, I think people will adapt," Spriggs said. "I think the businesses have had time to adapt -- some more readily than others. But they've had six months to adjust their inventory and their purchasing and that sort of thing."

Those found in violation of the ban could face a fine of up to $1,000 or up to six months in jail. The ban takes effect November 15.

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