Yesterday marked the first day of Santa Cruz County’s bag ban. Reports in the media and from staff indicate that the change has been implemented without any hiccups.
That is likely in large part to the outreach efforts of the County and bag ban advocates. According to the San Jose Mercury News, bright signs have been placed in parking lots to remind shoppers to bring their bags with them into the stores.
The County also gave away 1,000 reusable bags during the first afternoon of the ban at two locations. Ads and fliers have been distributed to increase awareness.
Grocers appear to embrace the ban in Santa Cruz County as well. Some, like New Leaf or Aptos Natural Foods, were already voluntarily banning plastic bags in stores. Others, like Safeway and Deluxe Foods, participated in the reusable bag giveaways.
Deluxe Foods manager Darrick Gitomer was quoted as predicting a painless transition:
"A lot of our customers have already switched over to using reusable bags, so it should be pretty smooth."
While plastic bags are banned, paper bags can be distributed as long as retailers pass the cost of the bags to their customers for 10 cents apiece. The original proposal for a bag ban also included restaurants, but they were exempted prior to its adoption.
Regardless, it appears that many restaurants are voluntarily complying with the ban, and the County may reconsider their formal inclusion in the future. Supervisor Mark Stone, a champion of the bag ordinance, told the Santa Cruz Sentinel,
"I know there are a number of restaurants in our county who are accepting the ban."
Watch a video of first day reactions here.