Welcome to 2012

Posted by — January 1, 2012 8:26 am

Bag Monster Appears with San Jose Mayor, in 2011

As we reflect on the progress made in the reduction of plastic waste in 2011, we would like to officially welcome the following cities and counties to a plastic-bag free 2012, effective today:

Los Angeles County (Unincorporated) – Effective today, a previous ban of plastic bags in larger retail stores, spreads to smaller grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores  and food markets.  At least 644 “small stores” across the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County will be affected.  Should consumers forget their reusable bags, they will be charged a 10 cent fee for each paper bag ( 40% recycled content) they need.

The City Of Long Beach, CA – Much like the ban on plastic bags in unincorporated Los Angeles County, the ban of disposable plastic bags in Long Beach will expand to include many smaller businesses, from liquor stores to farmers’ markets.  The ban began in August, 2011 with larger retail stores taking the lead. The expansion to smaller stores goes into effect today.

The City of San Jose, CA –  Today, nearly 5,000 retailers in the city of San Jose, California will stop handing out single-use plastic bags to shoppers.  Some grocery stores plan on handing out one free reusable bag per customer while supplies last.  Although there is a 10 cent fee for paper bags, low-income customers will be able to bag their groceries for free, after showing their EBT card.

Santa Clara County (unincorporated) – The tide continues to turn as Santa Clara County in California also bans plastic bags and initiates a 10 cent fee on 40% recycled content paper bag.  Some businesses, such as Pet Food Express announced this week the business will reduce the cost of its reusable bags to 49 cents and donate 100 percent of the money collected in the sale of reusable bags to San Jose Animal Care and Service – helping the environment, as well as homeless animals in San Jose.

Marin County, CA – Unincorporated parts of Marin County started to ban the bag today, thanks to the efforts of the late (and much beloved) Supervisor Charles McGlashan who fought to have the Marin County ordinance passed in 2011.  Many retail stores have already voluntarily banned plastic bags, making the transition almost seamless.  Marin Superior Court threw threw out a legal challenge posed by Stephen Joseph of Save the Plastic Bag Coalition in late 2011.  Mr. Joseph has now taken the case to the California State Court of Appeal.

South Padre Island, Texas – An ordinance passed early in 2011 by the South Padre Island City Council was scheduled to go into effect today.  The ordinance prohibits the point of sale distribution of non-compostable plastic bags and allows for the use of reusable bags as well as recyclable paper bags with 40% post consumer recycled content.

To all of these cities and counties who have visions of a less-plastic 2012, we salute you.  To all those other concerned citizens who contemplate such action this year, we encourage you.  To all those who have made the voluntary decision to reduce their carbon footprint, we thank you.

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