Jul 11 - Santa Cruz Passes Trio of Waste Ordinances Including Bags, EPS

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Santa Cruz has beautiful beaches, and the City wants to keep it that way.

Yesterday the City Council unanimously approved three waste reduction ordinances--two which focused on plastic pollution.

The ordinances will be formally adopted at a July 24 council meeting.

The plastic bag ordinance would be effective in all retail stores starting next April. Plastic bags are banned from distribution, while paper bags can be sold for ten cents each.

The polystyrene foam ordinance strengthens the city's acceptable food packaging ordinance to prohibit the sale of other foam products such as foam coolers, which still plague the nearby beaches. It goes into effect thirty days after final adoption.

The electronic waste ordinance requires that all collected e-waste be delivered to certified e-waste recyclers to ensure responsible electronic waste handling. This ordinance is effective six months after adoption.

There was overwhelming support at the meeting, while a few people spoke in opposition. Save the Plastic Bag Coalition has threatened to sue the City for its plastic bag ordinance, but was absent from the public meeting.

One of the arguments for the need for a bag ordinance EIR is based on speculation that paper bag usage (and related greenhouse gas emissions) will increase after a plastic bag ban. However, LA County's bag ordinance (a similar policy with a 10 cent paper bag charge) is proof that this won't happen--they recently reported a 94% overall single-use bag reduction, including a 24% reduction in paper bags.

Read more in the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

CAW was there in support of all three ordinances and thanked the City Council for its environmental leadership. We also extend our thanks to all the friends and members who wrote or showed up in support.

At the state level, AB 298 (Brownley) and SB 568 (Lowenthal) would ban plastic bags and foamed polystyrene food containers throughout California. Take action and support AB 298 and SB 568.