In a 3-2 vote, the Santa Barbara supervisors moved this week toward banning single-use plastic bags in the unincorporated areas of the county. The ban — one is already in effect in the cities of Santa Barbara and Carpinteria — is scheduled to roll out next March. The item will return to the board on August 25.
Dissenting from the vote to move things along were Supervisors Peter Adam and Steve Lavagnino. Adam argued the issue does not apply to his North County district. “It’s nice that the South County supervisors want to save the world, but they should save their own world first,” he said. Carbajal swung back, making a case for consistencies across regions. He went on to point out that all of San Luis Obispo County — which falls within the 24th District he hopes to represent in Congress — has implemented a similar ordinance. Lavagnino took issue with the fact that paper bags cost a small fee under the ban, noting that they are recyclable. The proposed ordinance would not apply to restaurants or beer or wine tasting rooms.
The supervisors had previously expressed interest in the matter but stopped the effort after a statewide ban emerged on the horizon. Last year, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that would ban single-use carryout bags at stores and grocery markets across the state, a measure similar to the county’s draft ordinance. But that ban was put on hold by a ballot referendum. Voters will decide its fate in November 2016.