As evidenced by the list of local jurisdictions that have banned bags in California, it’s been mostly coastal communities who have taken issue with plastic bags and their impacts on the environment. But now, more inland cities and counties are considering bag bans.
And why not? It’s not just the marine environment and wildlife that’s harmed by plastic bags. True, there’s the Great Pacific Garbage Patch full of floating plastic particles to consider, and yes, there are incredibly sad and preventable stories of whales and turtles that have died with stomachs full of plastic bags.
But at the same time, regardless of location, plastic bags harm the economy, costing millions each year to be cleaned off our streets and picked out of our stormwater systems and waterways. Even when properly thrown away or recycled, they are an economic menace.
The City of San Jose spent $1 million each year to repair recycling machinery (jammed by plastic bags) when they used to pick up the bags for recycling (btw San Jose stopped this program and banned plastic bags earlier this year). And landfills can spend upwards of $100,000 each year to pick up plastic bags blowing loose around the landfills.
In Coachella Valley, two communities have taken steps to ban single-use plastic bags. Both the cities of Indio and Palm Desert have created Sustainability Commissions to consider bag ordinances. There’s been talk of working with the Coachella Valley Association of Government towards a regional ordinance. Read more here.
Learn more about the issue and what you can do on our Campaign to End Single-Use Plastic Bags page.
Take action on proposed bag ordinances—it’s quick and you can modify your message before sending.