Sacramento, CA – The City Council’s Law and Legislation Committee unanimously approved a draft ordinance banning single-use plastic bags citywide. Satisfying this procedural requirement keeps the ban on track for a final vote by the full City Council later in 2013. Next, Sacramento will commission an initial study of the proposed ordinance’s environmental impacts. The ordinance would bar grocery, drug, and convenience stores from distributing single-use plastic checkout bags within city limits.
“This important step forward for Sacramento shows yet again that local communities can achieve lasting victories for ocean and environmental health,” said Nathan Weaver with Environment California. “Every week, cities, towns, counties and others are working to ban single-use plastic bags that pollute our oceans.”
Plastic bags are a direct threat to animals like sea turtles that mistake them for food. One in three leatherback sea turtles has plastic in its stomach, most often a plastic bag, according to a review of over 370 autopsy reports. The Los Angeles Times has reported that plastic bags are one of the four most common garbage items on California’s beaches. Fifteen percent of all animals Ocean Conservancy found tangled in garbage during a worldwide beach cleanup were caught in plastic bags.
“Nothing we use for a few minutes should pollute our ocean for hundreds of years,” commented Weaver.
More than 70 California local governments have already banned single-use plastic bags. Over seven million Californians, nearly one out of every five people in the state, now live in a community with a plastic bag ban. Other cities, including Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and Chico, are in the process of approving their own plastic bag bans.
Environment California is a state-based, citizen-funded, environmental advocacy organization working toward a cleaner, greener, healthier future.