Los Gatos and El Cerrito are about to join the 79 other California communities that are covered under ordinances restricting the distribution of single-use plastic grocery bags in 2014. El Cerrito will take a step further by banning restaurants from distributing disposable polystyrene food takeout containers.
On Monday, Los Gatos’ Town Council approved the first reading of an ordinance that will restrict single-use plastic bags and allow stores to charge 10 cents for recycled paper bags. The ordinance will take effect on Feb. 3, 2014.
El Cerrito’s council approved the first reading of their ordinance on Tuesday. It will restrict single-use plastic and allow a charge of 5 cents for paper bags; the polystyrene ordinance will require restaurants to use compostable, recyclable or reusable takeout containers. The ordinance takes effect on Jan. 1, 2014 and becomes enforceable on July 1.
When the second readings are approved next month, these two will bring the total number of California Communities covered under local ordinances restricting plastic grocery bags to 81. Nearly as many communities are covered under ordinances that restrict, in some way, polystyrene food containers.
The momentum continues to build as local governments work to reduce the economic burden they bear for cleaning up plastic pollution. It’s costing up to $100 million a year to manage the clean up of plastic bags. Landfills have had to construct 10 foot fences to keep plastic bags from getting caught in the wind and blown into waterways and storm drains. Once they make it to the ocean, they can cause life-threatening impacts to marine wildlife like Leatherback Turtles.
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