Alameda County has seen a smooth transition since implementing its single-use plastic bag ban in January, according to The Californian.
The ordinance, which applies to retailers that sell prepackage food and does not include restaurants, take-out food or stores that benefit charity, has led to an increase in customers bringing reusable bags, according to one store manager. Another said customers were pleased that the ordinance would help reduce plastic waste.
While the ordinance requires businesses to keep exact records of paper bags purchased, store owners and employees report that the task has not been significantly detrimental to business operations. Many stores, including large chains and small businesses, report that the transition to phase out plastic bags was accompanied by either no inconveniences or only minor ones.
Representatives from Alameda County are hopeful that the ordinance, which includes a 10 cent charge for paper bags, will lead to more reusable bag use.
Nearly 14 billion single-use plastic bags are generated in California each year. With less than 3 percent of those bags being recycled, that means there is the potential for the more than 12 million that are not being recycled to enter the environment. Once there, they have a disproportionate impact on both the environment and the economy. They cost millions to clean up and present a deadly threat to wildlife including sea turtles, fish and birds.
More than one-third of California's population now lives in a community covered under an ordinance banning the dstribution of single-use plastic bags. But with billions of bags being produced each year, we can't afford to wait for the rest of the state to catch up. It's time for a statewide ban in single-use plastic bags.
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