Bag bans work.
According to a report from San Jose, local plastic bag pollution has dropped by significant numbers. The city's ban on plastic bags in all retail stores went into effect at the beginning of 2012.
A 60% reduction in creeks and streets is being reported based on trash surveys. Plastic bags, which are notorious for gumming up reycling machinery, are also showing up less and less in the recycling stream.
California Waste Solutions (CWS), which handles single-family recycling for most of the city, reported a 24% reduction of plastic bags, and a related reduction in plastic bags getting caught in their machines. Because of the fewer bags coming through, CWS is seeing 35-50% fewer periods where they have to shut down the machines due to a plastic-bag related problem.
The report is being heard in the Transportation and Environment committee today at 1:30 pm at City Hall.
The City is now studying an ordinance on polystyrene takeout containers, expected to go to council in 2013. Read an article.
Read the report (link available on the news release).
Congratulations, San Jose!