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Ventura Reusable Bag Ordinance

In September 2012 Ventura City Council took the first steps toward a reusable bag ordinance by signing on to support a regional carryout bag Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The regional effort is being coordinated by BEACON, a CA joint-powers authority established to address coastal erosion, beach nourishment and clean oceans within the California Coast from Point Conception to Point Mugu. Now that the environmental review is complete, Ventura and each jurisdiction in the area would need to approve their own local checkout bag ordinance based on model language for the region. The ordinance will likely include an elimination of free plastic checkout bags and a small fee on paper bags at grocery stores and food retailers. We need you to show support for a Reusable Bag Ordinance in 2013 by contacting City Councilmembers, attending local hearings and spreading the word with friends. See below for how to help and Bring Your Own Bag Ventura!

  • Chapter:Ventura County
  • State: CA
  • Country: USA
  • Theme: Rise Above Plastics
  • Launch Date: October 01 2012
  • Completion Date: Ongoing

CLICK HERE to sign our Action Alert and contact City Councilmembers with your support.

On Monday August 5th 2013 the Ventura City Council unanimously voted to move a proposed Reusable Bag Ordinance forward by directing City Attorney and staff to do some research and come back later with ordinance language to vote on.  The proposed citywide ordinance would eliminate plastic checkout bags at grocery stores and food retailers while placing a small fee on paper bags as the incentive to remember your reusable bags or go without a bag for small purchases. 

Ventura is a beautiful city but plastic bag litter is the most visible scar on our community.  Plastic bags don't biodegrade in our lifetimes and can impact marine life through ingestion or entanglement when littered.  Check out this narrated slideshow which documents local plastic bag litter and discusses the issue in more detail.

What you can do to help:  Contact City of Ventura Councilmembers.  Thank them for taking the first important steps towards a Reusable Bag Ordinance and urge their continued support.

Surfrider set up this online action alert so you can email all of the Councilmembers easily at once.  We provide some suggested language but if you take a few moments to customize it, that will likely catch their eye and make a bigger impact.  Stay tuned here and on Surfrider Ventura's Facebook Page for BYOB campaign updates. 

Plastic checkout bags are typically made from non-renewable resources such as natural gas.  Plastic bags do not biodegrade in our lifetimes and can impact wildlife when littered - in addition to being an eyesore, costing taxpayer dollars to pick up, potentially clogging drains and possibly creating mosquito breeding grounds in warmer months.  While plastic bags are recyclable, recent reports show a dismal 5% recycling rate from the 115 billion bags used nationwide.  Here are some FAQ's based on model ordinance language provided in the Environmental Impact Report:

Q: What kind of plastic bag is banned?
Plastic carryout bags include any bag made of plastic (from any source), which is provided to the customer at the point of sale.

Q: What kind of plastic bag is NOT banned?
Produce bags and Product bags are bags without handles used exclusively to carry produce, meats, or other food items to the point of sale or to prevent such food items from coming into direct contact with other purchased items.

Q: Why should the City of Ventura consider a checkout bag ordinance?
The intent of the Checkout Bag Ordinance is to significantly reduce the environmental impacts related to single-use plastic and paper carry out bags and promote a major shift towards the use of reusable bags.

Q: How are single-use plastic carryout bags harmful to the environment?
They are consumed in extremely high volumes
They are typically produced from non-renewable resources
They are designed to be disposable (rather than reusable)
Difficult to recycle. Less than 5% of plastic bags used annually are actually recycled.  Plastic bags and film processed by Gold Coast Recycling in Ventura is likely shipped overseas, not truly recycled locally.
A significant and visible component of litter and do not biodegrade. They remain in the environment as marine, storm drain, and beach pollution for decades
A significant hazard to animals and birds, which can be impacted by ingestion or entanglement

Q: Is there any exception to this ban?
The Ordinance does NOT prohibit the distribution of plastic “product bags” such as those distributed within a grocery store for bagging produce or meat.

Q: What stores are required to charge 10 cents for each recycled paper bag?
All grocery stores, convenience stores, minimarts, liquor stores, drug stores and pharmacies are prohibited from providing free distribution of single-use paper and plastic carryout bags. If these stores decide to make paper carryout bags available for their customers, they are required to sell recycled paper carryout bags made from 100% total recycled content with 40% post-consumer recycled content for not less than 10 cents per bag.

Q: Why is there a $0.10 fee on recycled paper carryout bags?
The fee of $0.10 on recycled paper carryout bags encourages the use of reusable bags. This cost pass-through reimburses retailers for the costs of providing recycled paper carry out bags to their customers. All of the revenue from the cost pass-through remains with the store.

Q: How do I avoid paying 10 cents for each recycled paper bag?
It’s easy! Remember to bring your own reusable bags to the store. Some stores will even offer you a credit for bringing your own bag!