October 06 2008 | Jim's Blog,
San Diego County
Encinitas Plastic Bag Ban Ordinance
After several months of collaborative work between Surfrider Foundation San Diego Chapter activists and the City of Encinitas, the City Council voted to ban plastic bags and put a fee on paper bags in an effort to reduce single-use plastic consumption by its residents. As the first city in San Diego County to pass a bag ban, this put the City of Encinitas at the forefront of the fight against plastic marine debris. As part of the ban ordinance, there was a specific directive that there be significant education and that it be phased in slowly to work with both residents and the business community – developing a reasonable plan and time frame. San Diego Chapter RAP volunteers collected close to 2,000 signatures from residents in support of a ban and presented them to the five City Council members. This victory was part of the Chapter's Rise Above Plastics campaign efforts to educate the public and encourage reusable bags and water bottles.
Westport Connecticut Votes to Ban Plastic Checkout Bags
The Town of Westport, Connecticut,which is on a tidal estuary, Long Island Sound, voted on September 2, 2008 to ban plastic checkout bags at retail stores, becoming the first town on the East Coast to go plastic bag-free. At the stroke of midnight, the Westport Representative Town Meeting (RTM) approved a resolution, in a 26 to 5 vote (with 1 abstention), giving retailers six months to stop using disposable plastic bags at the checkout. This resolution is the first of its kind east of the Mississippi
Kasey Jacobs, Vice-Chair of the Connecticut Surfrider Chapter stated at the public hearing, "“Since their introduction to U.S. supermarkets in the late 1970's plastic bags have become a ubiquitous presence. Forty years is not a long enough time period to consider them irreplaceable though. No one is inferring that Westport can solve this global problem single-handedly, but this ban is about Westport doing its part and helping further spread this global movement. We can not ignore the fact that our oceans are connected. By voting yes tonight the RTM will forever put the Town of Westport on the map as being the first town on the East Coast to become plastic bag free." The chapter partnered with Citizens Campaign for the Environment on the campaign.
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