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They are how we protect our special coastal places

10 • 15 • 2013

Santa Barbara Reusable Bag Ordinance

On October 15th, 2013 the Santa Barbara City Council gave final approval to a citywide plastic checkout bag ban at all food retailers in the city that is scheduled to take effect in six months at larger stores then twelve months at small stores. The ordinance includes a ban on plastic checkout bag and ten-cent fee on paper checkout bags at grocery stores and other retailers that sell groceries as the incentive to remember your reusable bag or go without a bag for small purchases.

In March 2012 the Santa Barbara City Council took the first steps to pursue an ordinance to reduce disposable bags in favor of reusable bags. On May 22nd, 2012 they reaffirmed their commitment by voting 6-1 to have their staff draft the ordinance language. BEACON, a regional joint-powers authority, has coordinated an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) that any municipality in Ventura or Santa Barbara County can use to approve a local Reusable Bag Ordinance. 

In 2013, once the environmental review was complete, the City Council reaffirmed their commitment with a series of unanimous votes to confirm the ordinace.  It's been a multi-year process to get to this point and it would not be possible without the help from other great groups like Community Environmental Council, Santa Barbara Coastkeeper, Environmental Defense Center, Save The Mermaids, and the great activists with the Surfrider Foundation Santa Barbara Chapter.