Santa Cruz County May Revise Their Plastic Bag Ban

The Santa Cruz County plastic bag ban goes into effect on March 15th, 2012.   Santa Cruz County passed the ban in September 2011, and it encompassed all retailers, grocery stores and food service establishments to ban plastic bags.  The difference between Santa Cruz County and San Jose is that Santa Cruz County also includes restaurants, which Save The Plastic Bag Coalition and The Restaurant Association takes issue with.

Save The Plastic Bag, along with The Restaurant Association, is concerned about not being able to provide plastic bags for their food.  Their concerns are for safety in regards to transporting hot food and liquids, and contamination from reusable grocery bags.

Right now, all retailers, grocers and restaurants can distribute paper or reusable grocery bags but must charge .10 per paper bag the first year, increasing to .25 cents the second year, to incentivize people to bring reusable shopping bags.  Food service establishments are permitted to provide paper bags at no cost.

All retailers, including food service establishments, must keep annual records of paper bag distributions and provide independent certification that the paper carryout bags distributed are from 40 percent post-consumer recycled fiber.  The ordinance applies to the unincorporated parts of the county only.  Cities within the county would need to pass a city ordinance.

Save The Plastic Bag said that if Santa Cruz County drops the food service portion of the ban, they would drop the law suit.  The Board of Supervisors is considering the revision to get the ban to go into effect in 2012 as planned.  Eventually, members of The State Assembly would like to see a state wide common ban for consistency.


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