With a population of over 1 million residents, the City of San Jose is the third largest city in California. Yesterday, its City Council voted to ban plastic bags in a 10-1 vote, making it the largest city to accomplish this feat. The City had been working on the issue for nearly three years.
San Francisco, the state's 4th largest city, banned plastic bags in 2007. The County of Los Angeles passed a plastic bag ordinance last month which goes into effect in July 2011 and will impact 1.1 million people.
The San Jose ordinance will go into effect on January 1, 2012 and is expected to stop the distribution of an estimated 472.5 million plastic bags each year.
Local momentum continues to build around the state of California for plastic bag bans after Assembly Bill 1998, which proposed a state-wide ban on plastic bags, failed to pass in Senate during the last legislative session.
San Jose's ordinance and Environmental Impact Report are expected to assist other local governments looking to follow the City's example and incorporate its research into their own documents.
The City's ordinance is considered part of a second generation of plastic bag bans compared to other local ordinances passed just a few years ago, with stronger language that extends to all retailers and prevents the free distribution of single-use paper bags.
Read an article from the Silicon Valley Mercury News here.