September 13, 2011

Breaking News: Santa Cruz County Unanimously Approves Single-Use Bag Reduction Ordinance


Just this morning, September 13th, 2011, Save Our Shores sat in the chambers of the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors, crossing our fingers that they would move forward with the local ordinance to ban single-use plastic bags from retailers and food vendors.

But we didn't know they'd be voting on it!

Save Our Shores applauds the unanimous decision by the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors today to approve a county-wide ban on single-use plastic bags from retailers and food vendors.

Why? Because plastic bags are a harmful, petroleum-based plastic product of convenience, are not biodegradable, are ingested by marine species, and are constantly found polluting the waterways and communities surrounding the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

The ordinance, originally spearheaded by Supervisor Mark Stone and diligently written by a task force that included Save Our Shores, imposes a 10 cent fee on paper bags, bans single-use plastic bags from retailers and food vendors, and encourages use of reusable bags.

Public comment and support of the ban was plentiful at the meeting this morning, where members of Save Our Shores, Environment California, Saves the Waves Coalition, Surfrider Santa Cruz Chapter, Sustainable Salinas, and citizens of the Santa Cruz community spoke in support of the ban. Carolyn Ruldolph, owner of Charlie Hong Kong restaurant, spoke in support of the ban and shared her own restaurant’s successful experience of transitioning away from single-use plastic bags.

Today, the County of Santa Cruz joins the ranks of other counties and cities in the state of California that have passed similar bans on single-use plastic bags such as the County of Los Angeles, the County of Marin, and the Cities of San Jose, Palo Alto, Los Angeles, Manhattan Beach, Oakland, Fairfax, Malibu, Long Beach, and more.

“The plastic bag problem is a state-wide issue, but because the state legislature failed to get it done, we had to move forward locally to make this happen,” said Supervisor Mark Stone at the meeting. “I thank the county staff and the task force for getting this done. In addition, SOS has been amazing and a real catalyst in this process.”

Says Laura Kasa, Executive Director of Save Our Shores, “I thank the leadership of this Board of Supervisors for taking on this issue and for diligently following through in order to protect our ocean from this harmful product.”

Save Our Shores has been working with local leaders, businesses, and residents for over two years to garner support for this ban and will continue to advocate for bans on single-use plastic bags in each jurisdiction around the Sanctuary. Contact savourshores.org for more information.

Another victory in the fight to keep plastic pollution out of our oceans, off our beaches, and away from marine life!

Thank you to everyone who helped pass this ordinance once and for all.

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