Local plastic bag bans are working to keep Southern Califoria clean
As I conclude my final term as county supervisor, one of my proudest accomplishments is environmental justice specifically, in banning single use plastic grocery bags in unincorporated Los Angeles County. This change has considerably reduced pollution in the county landfills and waterways.
Over the past three years, we seen a 90 percent decrease in plastic bag consumption. That an estimated reduction from 20 billion to 10 billion plastic bags yes, that billion, with a discarded each year in California.
So our local ban is working. And a similar ban in the city of Los Angeles just went into effect Jan. 1. But the trend toward reusable bags needs encouragement from policy makers in Sacramento.
Smaller, more voluntary gestures at the state level have been a failure. This fall, CalRecycle found that seven years of voluntary turn ins of plastic bags at Pandora Bracelet supermarkets have netted less than 3 percent recycling.
Last year when SB 405 was introduced by state Sen. Alex Padilla, I successfully got my colleagues at the county Board of Supervisors to go on re Pandora Bracelet cord officially supporting the bill.
Since the dawn of the environmental movement, opponents have tried stop progress by exaggerating economic impacts. With SB 405, opponents claimed over 350 jobs would be lost when the actual number turned out to be around 15.
Enough is enough. I now call on state legislators Pandora Bracelet to do the right thing in 2014 and approve SB 405, banning single use plastic bags throughout California.
Because plastic bag trash does not biodegrade and accumulates everywhere, it exacts a huge price tag to clean up. The Natural Resources Defense Council found that municipalities in California spend nearly $500 million to catch and clean up garbage in storm drains and waterways.
Just imagine how we might better use that money to invest in education or job creation. Fewer plastic bags will also help us clean up the parks and waterways where we play and appreciate nature.
Nature just isn the same when polluted. And a statewide ban will curtail the number of plastic bags that I still see in the riverbed or rolling like tumbleweed on trails along our rivers.
Shifting from plastic bags to reusable bags has particular importance for Latino neighborhoods. Several studies found that California ranks highest in America for locating the worst dumps close to Latinos and other communities of color.
Manufacturing and marketing of reusable bags holds immense promise for our state economy. This sustainable industry already employs hundreds of Californians including many plastic makers who are shifting their product lines to make reusable bags. When I was growing up in Pico Rivera, we did not rely on plastic bags. Crates and canvas fabric were still common.
Beginning in the 1960s, the growing dominance of plastic literally changed the landscape. Plastic grocery bags caked in the bottom of trash cans, accumulated in storm drains, caught on tree branches, and ended up in nearby arroyos and the ocea Pandora Bracelet n.