Last week, on July 14th, the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of the City of Manhattan Beach in the case challenging their city's ban on single-use plastic bags.
This monumental ruling proclaims that state of California law does not make it mandatory for a city to complete a full Environmental Impact Report (EIR) prior to legally imposing a bag ban. This is excellent news for the many jurisdictions that have delayed moving forward with bag bans due to the threat of being sued by the Save Our Plastic Bag Coalition, a key lobbying group for the plastics industry, of course.
The CA Supreme Court's unanimous decision to support the City of Manhattan Beach's decision to enact a bag ban will make enactment of such bag bans more affordable and timely in the future, as EIR's can cost upwards of $100,000 to conduct and often take a year or more to complete.
As long as local bans include a fee on single-use paper bags, the ordinances are seen as a push toward reusable bags, instead of simply just a move away from plastic bags. The County of Santa Cruz and City of Santa Cruz are both working on similar ordinances that would impose a 5-cent fee on paper bags, with exclusions built in for low-income shoppers.
Decreasing and stopping use of single-use plastic bags as well as paper bags is the ultimate goal to make a positive impact on our environment.
With statistics claiming merely 2-5% of the billions upon billions of single-used plastic bags used in the US being recycled, the new green-living mantra is:
REDUCE. REFUSE. REUSE.