It’s official. No more single-use plastic bags in Santa Monica, California.
The ban on plastic bags that was passed by the City Council in January took effect last Thursday, September 1.
26 Million Plastic Bags Each Year In Santa Monica
According to city officials, 26 million plastic bags get used each year in Santa Monica alone, contributing not only to the city’s carbon footprint, but to the bags that foul up local beaches and devastate marine life. It wouldn’t be a problem if more people recycled them, but according to the Los Angeles Times, less than 5 percent of L.A. County shoppers actually recycle their bags.
All the rest get thrown out.
The ban will significantly reduce that wastage by cutting single-use plastic bags out of grocery stores, convenience stores, liquor stores, pharmacies and mini-mart, and restricting them in other places, including the various Farmers’ Markets.
“Did You Bring Your Own Bags Today?”
Checkers will no longer be asking “Paper or plastic?” but rather “Did you bring your own bags today?” Shoppers who don’t bring their own reusable bag will be able to buy paper bags for 10 cents each.
As KABC News reports, earlier this year, a study by scientists at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography at UC San Diego found plastic in nearly one in 10 small fish collected in the Pacific Ocean and estimated that fish are ingesting as much as 24,000 tons of plastic annually.
The study raised concerns that plastic pollution may be climbing the food chain into seafood consumed by humans.
Same Ban In Effect In Unincorporated Los Angeles County
Unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County passed the same ban last November, and it went into effect on July 1, 2011. The California Grocers Association said they favored a statewide ban to make the rule easier to implement, but that hasn’t happened yet.
Other cities that have banned plastic bags include San Francisco, Mexico City, Dhaka in Bangladesh and Oyster Bay in Australia.
Makes sense to me.
Photo Credit: taberandrew via Creative Commons