Alameda County single-use bag ban expands

Alameda County has recently expanded the scope of its single-use bag ban to include eateries. This means plastic take-out bags will no longer be available at restaurants, bakeries, cafés, bars, and food trucks across the county.

There were a few clues this might be coming, with a significant amount of Alameda County dining establishments already making the switch to more eco-friendly paper bags. But the decision earlier this month means that Alameda County now has one of the strongest bag bans in the Bay Area and a tougher policy than the one in effect across the state.

The first single-use plastic bag ban in Alameda County took effect in January 2013, but it only applied to grocery, drug, and liquor stores. In June of this year, retail stores were added to that list. The impacts of the bag ban have been very positive. There has been an 80% decline in the number of single-use plastic bags purchased by businesses for distribution, and a 44% decline in plastic bags ending up in the county’s storm drains.

Alameda County has been a leader in addressing the negative consequences of plastic bags and their impacts on the San Francisco Bay. We hope that restaurants across the county continue this leadership and act quickly to comply with the law. Repeated non-compliance could result in a fine or other enforcement action for businesses. Consumers can use this form to let the county know about restaurants that may need their help in transitioning to the new law: http://www.reusablebagsac.org/non-compliance-reporting-form

A #GivingTuesday message from Jaime Redford

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As a documentary filmmaker, conservationist, and proud Bay Area resident, experience has taught me that when we focus on hope and solutions, our society is capable of great things. You and the Save The Bay community are proof of that.

Measure AA passed earlier this year because more than 70 percent of us here in the Bay Area stood up to restore our wetlands, and to make it better and healthier for everyone. And just weeks ago, Californians stood together to ban the plastic bag in our state once and for all by passing Prop. 67. Save The Bay and supporters like you are making climate change and other environmental issues personal — by talking about what’s happening in your backyards, by meeting people where they are, and by bringing people together to protect this magical place. And that’s inspiring to see.

As we travel to see our loved ones for the holidays and with #GivingTuesday right around the corner, I put this video together to share why I believe our Bay community is so important. The inspiring work of Save The Bay, and the hope and optimism of supporters like you, is more critical now than ever.

I hope you’ll take a minute to watch my video. Thank you for being a part of this movement, giving all you can as we work toward solutions for people, wildlife and the planet.

Sincerely,

JRedford

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Jamie Redford

Save The Bay Supporter and Fairfax Resident

Bigger than the Bag: the true promise of a state bag ban

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The devastating effects of plastic bag pollution are very real. A YES Vote on Prop 67 is an investment in the Bay that will produce great benefits for our society, economy, and environment.

Over the past decade, Save The Bay has been fighting to rid the Bay of plastic bags in an effort to aid our long-suffering waterways and ecosystems. And we’ve had some great successes. Most major cities, across the Bay and around California, have banned this prevalent ecosystem-wrecking pollution.

In the cities which have done so, the problem of plastic bag pollution has shrunk drastically. But our biggest victory – SB 270, the statewide bag ban – was robbed by out-of-state plastics manufacturers who couldn’t stand to see their profits chipped away by a massive popular movement demanding better treatment for our waters and wildlife.

Now they’re spending millions to mislead voters about Prop 67, the Nov. 8 ballot measure that will decide the fate of this fundamental legislation. But despite their best efforts, the truth remains – Prop 67 will produce great benefits for our society, economy, and environment.

Plastic bags pose a real threat to the health of our environment and our wildlife.

Plastic bags are devastating to the fragile, interconnected ecosystems of California. Sea turtles eat them, mistaking them for jellyfish, and get poisoned by the toxic chemicals within. They entangle birds and fish. Rather than biodegrade, they break into smaller parts, spreading all over and bio-accumulating in the food chain. The more plastic bags we buy and throw away, the less of a chance we have to rid the Bay and other waters of this pollution.

A claim the plastics industry likes to throw at Prop 67 is that it won’t solve the problem of plastic pollution. But here in the Bay Area we know firsthand that these plastic bag bans work. In San Jose, the number of plastic bags in creeks decreased 71 percent after a citywide ban, and the number of plastic bags in storm drains fell by 69 percent. In Monterey, Save Our Shores reported that the number of plastic bags they picked up during their weekly cleanup events fell from 65 to six, a 90 percent drop. Across the state, across the nation, and around the world, the story remains the same.

Moreover, enacting bag bans would also reduce oil consumption and lower carbon emissions from producing bags. According to a 2013 report by the nonpartisan Equinox Center, a bag ban in the city of San Diego alone would save 9,300 tons of CO2 per year. That’s equivalent to planting 1.2 million trees – for only one city in California. Imagine the savings we would garner if we took this statewide. Voting Yes on Prop 67 will enact a proven method to cut down on ecosystem-choking plastic pollution and reduce our state’s carbon footprint.

Going green makes cents.

Today, if you’re living in an area without a ban, your local grocery store is getting fleeced by Big Plastic. Grocers are being compelled to buy tens of thousands of plastic bags and hand them out, at no charge, to consumers, losing significant amounts of money in the process. But Prop 67 stops that. If the bag ban is enacted, grocers won’t need to buy plastic bags any longer and can instead sell reusable bags (many of which are durable and affordable) and provide paper bags for a 10-cent charge. Don’t Big Plastic confuse you, to ban the bag in California vote Yes on Prop 67 and vote No on Prop 65. 

In the Bay Area, we already know that transitioning consumers from plastic bags to reusable bags has been relatively easy. After San Jose’s bag ban was adopted, for example, reusable bag use increased by an astonishing 1600 percent. This easy switch is not only more sustainable for the environment and local business but it’s also more cost effective for the savvy shopper. A one-time reusable bag purchase is cheaper than paying ten cents for every single paper bag they use.

Bag bans pave the way for a more sustainable future.

More importantly, enforcing such bans can be the gateway to more ambitious change for the betterment of our environment.  If plastic bags are banned, citizens will ask, why isn’t Styrofoam? Why are plastic bottles okay, but plastic bags not? We’ve already seen this dynamic in action.  In the Bay Area, Styrofoam bans followed bag bans in quick succession. In San Francisco, the first city in California to ban plastic bags, Styrofoam and plastic bottles will be prohibited by 2020. Voting Yes on Prop 67 will enable movements such as this to spread across the state.

And if we emphatically block this product from our state, California won’t be the only area affected. It’ll spread to other states and possibly adopted as a nationwide policy. But in order for that to happen, California must lead the way. Voting Yes on Prop 67 will spread the message that we need to get rid of plastic bags, not just here, but in every other locale in the US.

All in all, plastic bags are a blight on our economy, culture, and environment. Ridding ourselves of them will return great dividends. No matter which way Big Plastic spins it, plastic bags choke and poison our beloved Bay critters, emit excessive amounts of greenhouse gases, and clog the Bay. A plastic bag ban here at home could pave the way for a nationwide movement and successfully usher in bans on other harmful products that are toxic to our environment.

The facts are in. The evidence is clear. Don’t mess this up, California.

To ban the bag in California once and for all vote Yes on Prop 67 and vote No on Prop 65.

 

Urgent: Prop 67 support is slipping

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Plastic bags litter our communities and kill wildlife every day. Thousands of sea turtles, otters, and birds become entangled in plastic bags every year, and many more animals mistake these bags for food, fill their stomachs with plastic and die of starvation.

Chances are you’re already planning to vote Yes on Prop 67 to ban these harmful bags.

But that may not be enough.

New polling shows support for Prop 67 has slipped below 50%, which means the deceptive tactics of the plastic industry are working. We need to reach far more Bay Area voters in the next two weeks in order to win.

Fortunately, we have a plan to gain ground with the independent voters who will decide the fate of the bag ban. Working with the Yes On 67 campaign, we will be putting highly targeted online ads in front of voters we know are undecided on this issue. We know that most Californians are with us on this issue–we just need to reach them, and that costs money.

Our research shows that most California voters support the goal of banning bags, but either don’t know about Prop 67 or have been confused by Big Plastic’s deceptive campaign to overturn the ban. They wonder why there are two plastic bag measures on the ballot. (Short answer: Because Big Plastic wants to confuse voters–but environmental organizations up and down the state say Yes On 67 and No On 65.)

The plastic industry has spent more than $6 million to confuse voters, and the truth is environmental organizations have just a tiny fraction of that to get the facts out.

Thankfully, the affordability of online ads means that for every dollar we spend, we can reach two key voters with multiple impressions between now and election day. Our goal is to reach an additional 30,000 voters who will make the difference on this issue. Supporters can help us reach this goal by making a donation today.

 


Paid for by Save The Bay Action Fund Committee to Support Prop 67. Major funding by Save The Bay.

 

Protect California’s Bag Ban

Bill the Pelican taking a photo with his Save The Bay bag for the #MyBag Campaign
Bill the Pelican taking a photo with his Save The Bay bag for the #MyBag Campaign

In August of 2014, California became the first state in the country to approve a plastic bag ban and on September 30, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill into law. This was an exciting victory for keeping toxic trash out of our state’s waterways and the Pacific Ocean.

The bag ban was set to go into effect on July 1, 2015 but the plastics industry funded a referendum to stop it. Paid signature gatherers collected signatures across the state in order to hinder the bag ban. Several reports indicate that the plastics industry used deceptive means to obtain signatures.

In late February 2015, Secretary of State Alex Padilla reported that the bag ban referendum had qualified, delaying implementation of the bill until voters approve it in November 2016. According to Padilla, the plastics industry has already spent over $3 million in this effort, with 98% of funds coming from out-of-state interests.

80% of Bay Area residents are currently living in a jurisdiction that has banned plastic bags and the majority of Californians support the ban. We cannot let out of state interests and the plastics industry weaken our progress when it comes to preventing plastic pollution for the entire state.

In response, we’re asking you to join a growing coalition of organizations that are advocating for and upholding a statewide bag ban. To kick off these efforts, Sacramento-based organization Californians Against Waste developed a social media campaign called #MyBag, launching  July 1st to commemorate the day that the statewide bag ban should have gone into effect. For many of us in the Bay Area, bag bans are already common place, so let’s show the rest of the state how easy it can be to bring your own bag.

The #MyBag social media campaign invites you to go online and post pictures of yourself, friends and family, with reusable bags you use at the store.

Post your #MyBag ‘selfie’ to Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, and make sure the world knows you’ve had enough of single-use plastic bags polluting the environment.  Include the #MyBag hashtag and tag @saveSFbay to help spread your support for California’s plastic bag ban.