In a unanimous decision, the City of Santa Monica tonight passed one of the most aggressive and far-reaching plastic bag bans in the State of California. The ban, which will go into effect in September 2011, will ban all grocery stores, pharmacies and retailers from distributing plastic bags.
Exceptions will be made for restaurants selling food and drink for take-out, but the popular farmers markets will no longer be able to distribute plastic bags. Stores can sell paper bags, provided they are made of at least 40% recycled paper, for a minimum of 10¢ each.
Each year, Santa Monica residents use in excess of 25 million plastic bags. The ban will encourage shoppers to bring heavy-duty reusable bags from home, eliminating millions of bags from the waste stream.
Plastic bags blowing down city streets and in our parks make our neighborhoods look like garbage dumps. When they enter the ocean, either through the stormdrain system or by blowing across our beaches, they kill or injure marine animals. In fact, they are frequently eaten by animals who mistake them for jellyfish.
Santa Monica's bag ban has been in the works for 2 years. Our congratulations to the City Council for their landmark decision!