MALIBU—The city of Malibu announced on Monday, March 4, that the city’s temporary lift of the plastic sandbag ban has been terminated. The city of Malibu’s Ordinance 419 Chapter 9.30 which initially banned plastic sandbags was temporarily lifted due to heavy winter storms proceeding the Woolsey Fires back in November 2018. The ordinance was passed in May 2017 to protect the environment from plastic pollution.
Several heavy storms struck the region shortly after the Woolsey Fires. The ordinance did allow residents to use biodegradable bags as an alternative. Due to the increase need of sandbags for residents to protect their homes from flooding, the plastic sandbag ban was lifted. Homes that were vulnerable included those homes in the burn areas, noted the city of Malibu in a press release.
Biodegradable sandbags can readily decompose into natural materials in the environment without causing harm.
“Burlap or jute sandbags do not have the same impact on the environment as plastic-based or plastic-coated burlap sandbags which do not readily degrade. Burlap sandbags are capable of providing the same erosion and flooding protection provided by polypropylene and other plastic based sandbags,” states city of Malibu website.
A letter was sent to Caltrans, Southern California Gas Company, Southern California Edison, Fire Departments, and LA County Public Works on February 26 by Malibu City Manager Reva Feldman. The letter was a notification stating that plastic sandbags are no longer to be used or distributed in the city. The letter also indicated that any inventories of plastic sandbags for their Malibu locations be discontinued.
Biodegradable sandbags can be purchased on Amazon. Walmart and Home Depot offer biodegradable burlap sandbags on their websites. To report the usage or distribution of plastic sandbags or remnants of plastic sandbags contact the City Code Enforcement Officer at 310-456-2489 extension 484 or email DCleavenger@malibucity.org.