Today two different events on a single-use bag ordinance will be held at the City Hall of California's capital city.
At 9:45 am, Council Member Steve Cohn and Council Member Kevin McCarty will hold a press event in front of City Hall (915 I Street, Sacramento CA) to discuss the need for a bag ordinance.
Later this afternoon at 2pm, the Sacramento City Council's Law and Legislation Committee will consider the issue of single-use plastic bags.
CAW will be there at both events in support.
Across the state, over 60 other cities or counties will be covered under adopted bans by this April, and by the end of the year at least a third of the state's population will be living near plastic-bag-free stores. But the capital city has yet to take a definite step in that direction.
Cohn and McCarty are hoping to change this. McCarty recently told the Sacramento Bee:
"Sacramento prides itself on being one of the most sustainable cities in California and America. We want to be a greener city, and I think this is a good issue to explore."
In addition to the impacts of plastic bag litter to our environment and wildlife, there are considerable economic impacts. The City spends upwards of $3 million in taxpayer dollars annually to clean up its streets, waterways, and stormwater systems. Plastic bags, although they are light and don't take up much space, never fully degrade and thus have a disproportionate impact compared to other litter.
Waste haulers in Sacramento report that bags get caught in their sorting machinery and require multiple shutdowns a day to manage this. In fact, the City of San Jose had a similar problem prior to adopting a bag ordinance in 2010--they estimated that they lost $1 million each year from plastic bags jamming up their machines.
Sacramento residents--support a bag ordinance in your city. Come to the press event in front of City Hall in the morning, or testify in support in the afternoon. The council committee meeting starts at 2pm on February 19, 2013 in the Council Chamber of City Hall and is open to the public.
If you aren't able to attend, make a quick call to the committee members and let them know you want to see Sacramento pass the next bag ordinance:
Committee Chair Jay Schenirer: 916-808-7005
Council Member Darrell Fong: 916-808-7007
Council Member Steve Cohn: 916-808-7003
Council Member Allen Warren: 916-808-7002
The committee will decide whether or not the city drafts a bag ordinance.
If the drafted ordinance is similar to the LA County ordinance (which reduced single use bags by 95%), it would ban plastic bags and place a charge on paper bags in large grocery and drug stores as well as convenience stores in Sacramento. There would be no restrictions on bringing in your own bag or walking out without any bags at all.
And if you've read recent reports about reusable bag safety and have concerns, check out this blog.