Happy Bag Ban, Santa Barbara!
Approximately 47 million single use plastic bags are used in Santa Barbara annually. Many of these bags end up polluting our waterways, creeks, rivers and ocean. Countless animals die each year from entanglement and ingestion of plastic litter. Although manufactured to be disposable, these ubiquitous bags take hundreds of years to break down. Even when we place plastic in our recycling bins, most of it isn’t recycled. Less than 5% of the 20 billion plastic bags used in California are recycled.
Although there has been much opposition by the plastics industry, 105 cities or counties in California have been affected by the 76 plastic bag ban ordinances that have been passed. On May 14th, the Santa Barbara ban will go into affect for large supermarkets and stores with a pharmacy. On November 14th, smaller grocery stores, drug stores, pharmacies, convenience food stores and food marts will have to comply with the new ordinance.
What does this mean for you? BYOB! Bring your own bag. Keep them in your car and use them whenever you shop because plastic disposable shopping bags will be banned and paper bags will cost 10 cents each. If you don’t already own them, purchase some reusable bags. Art From Scrap is now selling sturdy 100% cotton bags at our Retail Reuse Store for only $10.00 each.
As an environmental education organization, we’re really exited about the bag ban. For years we have educated students in our Flows To The Ocean (FTO) classes about the damaging effects that marine debris has on marine animals and the ocean environment. Thousands of students have conducted FTO projects to educate their school and the public about the perils of marine debris. Explore Ecology also conducts field trips at the Watershed Resource Center, sponsors Monthly Beach Clean Ups and teaches the public about the benefits of durable products in our waste reduction lessons. We feel proud to have helped create an educated public that convinced the city council to finally pass a bag ban after many years of debate.
Congratulations, Santa Barbara for choosing reuse over trash!