While Sonoma County engaged last year in a debate over banning plastic bags and styrofoam takeout containers, further north, cities have already put one into place.
Starting today, Ukiah residents will face a ban on plastic bags and a 10-cent tax on paper ones. The ordinance is a result of Ukiah City Council and Mendocino County’s adoption of the ordinance to regulate plastic bags.
Although plastic bags are still legal in Sonoma County, there was a movement last year to enact a similar ban. Some trade analysts -- and plastic and paper bag industry executives -- are watching to see the results of the ban in Mendocino County, and issuing dire warnings.
“Ukiah and Mendocino County’s plastic bag ban and paper bag tax will not only hurt consumers’ pockets but also push them toward less sustainable alternatives," Mark Daniels, Chair of the American Progressive Bag Alliance, said Monday. "Paper bags are a worse environmental option at checkout – using a large amount of water and emitting more greenhouse gases than plastic bags, and reusable bags cannot be recycled and are predominately imported from China.
"Reusable bags have also been found to host dangerous bacteria, which was the cause of a girls’ soccer team’s norovirus outbreak, reported earlier this year," Daniels said.
Daniels said people should instead look at the "real solutions," such as "increasing recycling programs that addresses all forms of plastic bags, sacks and wraps – building on a decade of progress in recycling.”
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