Yesterday was a good day for reducing plastic bag litter as the Santa Barbara City Council and South Lake Tahoe City Council in California both voted to ban plastic checkout bags! The ordinances cover grocery stores and other food retailers while including a ten-cent fee on paper bags as the incentive to remember a reusable bag or go without one for a small purchase.
Both plastic bag bans need a second reading and vote by the respective city councils to enact the ordinances. Then they will become effective 6 months later for larger stores and 12 months later for smaller stores covered by the ordinance.
Surfrider has been working with a number of other groups in Santa Barbara for years to help get a bag ban established. A sticking point with some city council members was that they wanted a statewide, or at least regional approach. BEACON, a joint-powers authority, stepped in to help coordinate a regional EIR and suggested ordinance language for all municipalities in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.