Mar 15 - Santa Barbara Considers Bag Ban After Voluntary Program Fails

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The coastal city of Santa Barbara is looking to ban plastic bags, joining the dozens of other communities in California that have already accomplished this.

According to the Santa Barbara Independent, this past Tuesday the City Council voted 5-2 to start work on a single-use bag ordinance in coordination with member agencies of the Beach Erosion Authority for Clean Oceans and Nourishment (BEACON). Among the BEACON members are Santa Barbara and Ventura counties and their incorporated cities.

The draft ordinance, likely to ban plastic bags and place a 10 cent price requirement on paper bags in all retail stores with some exemptions, would be the model ordinance for other BEACON members. Implementation would occur in two stages depending on retailer size.

The City of Santa Barbara is another example of a local government that tried to voluntarily reduce plastic bag pollution with limited success before turning to mandatory requirements. The Where’s Your Bag program encouraged reusable bag usage. Reports indicate that while the public education aspect was a success, only 3 of 11 businesses participated in the program.

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