Why local bag bans are needed

By Dan Jacobson
Legislative Director, Environment California

Last Tuesday the city of Santa Cruz became the 50th city to live plastic bag free. 

I am really excited about local bans for 3 reasons:

  1. We are reducing the amount of plastic flowing into the ocean. The pollution in the ocean is horrible and the worst part is we may never be able to clean it up. As my mother told me the first thing to do when your bathtub is overflowing is turn off the tap. These local bans are a great way to reduce pollution at the source.
  2. The patch quilt of policies that have been created are making a great case for the state legislature to ban plastic bags statewide. We all know the chemical and oil industry (the people who make plastic bags) have a powerful lobbying presence in Sacramento. But the great news is they don't have a lot of power in the city halls around the state. They are threatening law suits, but that is not working (so far). Local bans are working.
  3. We should be so inspired to see local activists fighting and winning to protect our environment. All these votes are a testament that people really care about the environment and are fighting to protect it.

Bottom line, the state legislature has 50 days to pass a statewide bill to ban plastic bags. Let's hope they do so. Also, today's Santa Cruz Sentinel has a great editorial about the need for a statewide ban on single use plastic bags. Check it out here.