Bag Ban on the Brain

City Will Start Process of Adopting Ordinance Next Week

Thursday, April 18, 2013
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If a plastic bag ban were enacted throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, consumers would use 400 million fewer plastic bags a year. According to a new regional environmental impact report (EIR), residents of the two counties ​— ​and the 16 cities within them ​— ​currently use 658 million plastic bags a year. If the sort of ban envisioned by the City of Santa Barbara were enacted in all those jurisdictions, bag usage would drop to 238 million.

Santa Barbara had proposed a multistage plan banning the use of plastic bags in supermarkets and stores selling food ​— ​restaurants would be exempt ​— ​and requiring stores to impose a 10-cent fee on paper bags. An environmental impact report was required to inoculate the proposed ban against legal challenge from organizations like the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition, which has argued successfully throughout the state that plastic-bag bans by themselves can have negative environmental consequences by increasing paper-bag use. Rather than have each jurisdiction incur the expense of preparing individual environmental reports, the analysis ​— ​which cost $60,000 ​— ​was prepared at the instigation of BEACON, an obscure joint powers agency dedicated to preserving a fresh supply of sand on area beaches. The Orfalea Foundation and UCSB’s Coastal Action Foundation each kicked in $5,000, as well.

Now that the environmental report is done, the City of Santa Barbara will begin the process of adopting a bag ban in earnest next week. (The cities of Carpinteria and Ojai already have.) Despite the fee on paper bags, the report indicates paper-bag use would increase 30 percent because of the ban, and 65 percent of shoppers would switch to reusable plastic bags. One plastic-bag supporter complained that the study failed to acknowledge that reusable bags require more water and energy to be kept clean and sanitary. Likewise, he said, they pose a health risk to the frail and elderly because the reusable bags can hold greater weights than traditional plastic bags. In Sacramento, State Senator Alex Padilla just introduced a statewide ban on plastic bags. A statewide ban, he argued, had become necessary since 70 cities and counties have enacted restrictions of their own. BEACON will be meeting Friday at 9 a.m. to discuss the EIR in the county supervisors’ chambers.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

It won't change my usage. I use plastic grocery bags now for trash and kitty litter. I never have left over bags. I'll just have to buy them.

taz (anonymous profile)
April 18, 2013 at 9:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Cheap Plastic Bags - Starting at 1¢ per Bag

I refuse to shop in Carp because of the ban. Not because of my fundamental belief that the ban is idiotic but because in my 3 shopping experiences at Vons since the ban it has taken me forever to get through the damn line with everyone stuffing their crap into an insufficient number of reusable bags. Last month the checker busted the plastic bag around some meat and said, as she put it into my bag with blood going everywhere, "well you have to wash them anyway" all the while cross contaminating the radishes that were already in the bag.
I too will simply buy roles of bags.

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
April 19, 2013 at 6:38 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The Minority dictating the Majority.

dou4now (anonymous profile)
April 23, 2013 at 6:38 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Wait dou4now, isn't that illegal? Oops, I guess the left loves the tyranny of the minority when it suits their political cause...But of course, anything is fabulous when it is postured as "saving the planet".

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
April 23, 2013 at 7:05 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Of course they do. That's why Prop 8 isn't the law of the land.

Botany (anonymous profile)
April 23, 2013 at 7:09 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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