Cities and counties throughout California are moving to ban single-use plastic bags after the statewide ban scheduled to take effect July 1, 2015 was delayed by plastic bag companies from Texas and South Carolina, which spent more than $3 million to qualify a referendum for the November 2016 ballot. American Canyon and Santa Barbara County approved their bans in late August, and Hermosa Beach and Milpitas approved ordinances last night, bringing the total number of California cities and counties banning plastic bags to 142.
“Despite the referendum, California cities and counties continue to move to ban plastic bags,” said Mark Murray, spokesperson for California vs. Big Plastic. “With more cities and counties jumping on the bag ban bandwagon, it’s increasingly likely that plastic bags will be permanently banned for the majority of the state’s population ahead of the November 2016 election.”
“These bags are a real nuisance,” said Hermosa Beach City Councilmember Nanette Barragan. “They’re not biodegradable, they contribute to local pollution, and they inevitably end up in our streets, oceans, and parks. Eliminating them is a simple fix and it will benefit our community, the people who live here, and the environment we all share for years to come.”
“Surfrider Foundation is very happy to see California cities continuing to take action to ban single-use plastic bags, which not only litter on land, but are also a huge contributor to marine plastic pollution, threatening wildlife and the water quality of our oceans,” said Staley Prom, Surfrider Foundation Legal Associate.
“This is a policy that protects and improves our environment,” said Santa Barbara County Supervisor Salud Carbajal. “There have been numerous studies on the positive effects of limiting the use of plastic bags, such as the reduction of litter in our watersheds and ocean; and I believe that we, as a coastal community, have a responsibility to promote these types of benefits.”
“Santa Barbara Channelkeeper is pleased that the County of Santa Barbara is joining the more than 100 other California governments taking action to stem the tide of plastic bag pollution,” said Penny Owens with Santa Barbara Channelkeeper. “We look forward to finding far fewer plastic bags in our creeks, on our beaches and along the coast.”
“The Community Environmental Council is thrilled that the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors has taken significant action to reduce plastic bag distribution,” said Kathi King with Santa Barbara Community Environmental Council. “This law will eliminate more than 70 million plastic bags per year, reducing impacts on our region's waste stream and the environment, while encouraging consumers to switch to reusable bags.”
“American Canyon, the second largest city in Napa County, now joins Calistoga, St. Helena and the city of Napa in removing litter from the landscape, the river and bay,” said Grania Lindberg with Napa CanDo. “The action also reduces storm drain blockage, jamming of recycling equipment and keeps plastic film out of the landfill.”
“It's smart policy for local jurisdictions to continue on their efforts to pass single-use plastic bag ordinances,” said Jeri Gill with Sustainable Napa County. “Passing a plastic bag ban shows the community possesses leadership and foresight, and it's a meaningful action that protects and conserves our resources – both natural and financial.”
The cities of Sacramento and Cathedral City passed bans earlier this year after the Secretary of State announced that the referendum had qualified, while San Diego’s Mayor and City Councilmembers are preparing a bag ban ordinance for California’s second largest city. The total number of ordinances expected to pass this year would cover an additional 2 million Californians with local bans. Lightweight single-use plastic grocery bags blow long distances into oceans and pastures and harm animals that eat them. A LA Times/USC poll shows almost two-thirds of Californians support a statewide ban.
To learn more about the effort to eliminate single-use plastic grocery bags, visit www.cavsbigplastic.com.