(Santa Cruz, CA) – Today Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to ban single-use bags from Santa Cruz County. The ordinance includes a fee on single-use paper bags of $0.10 in the first year and an option to increase it to $0.25 every year there after. Additionally, the ordinance includes restaurants in the ban on plastic bags, yet they will not be required to charge a fee on paper.
“Santa Cruz County is all too familiar with the negative effects of plastic pollution,” said Julia Ritchie Ocean Associate for Environment California. “We know that plastic shopping bags constitute a major part of our coastal waste stream. They cost local government millions of dollars in clean up and disposal expenses. They foul the environment and endanger marine wildlife. This ban is a crucial first step in solving the problem, and I’m very proud to support it,” said Ritchie
Last year the American Chemistry Council killed AB1998, a bill to ban plastic bags; then California’s municipalities took charge. Long Beach, Los Angeles County, and San Jose all stood up to say NO to waste. Today, Santa Cruz County joins 13 other cities and counties in California knitting the patchwork quilt of bag bans.
Plastic pollution is becoming an increasing threat to marine life. The North Pacific Gyre, 1,000 miles off the coast of California, is the convergence point for what has become swirling plastic soup leaking into our eco-systems and food sources. Every year in California, we use 12 billion plastic bags per year; the Guinness Book of World Records name the plastic bags the most ubiquitous consumer product in 2009.
“We hope that this will start the domino effect of making the Monterey peninsula plastic-bag-free,” said Ritchie. Thank you Santa Cruz County for adding to the momentum rush for bag bans!