On Tuesday May 24th the Long Beach City Council voted 5-3 to pass the second reading of a carryout bag ordinance that would affect supermarkets, large pharmacies, farmers markets and retailers within city limits. Next, it’s on to Mayor Bob Foster’s desk for final approval, which is expected in the coming weeks. After the State of California failed to pass AB 1998 last year, a statewide ordinance banning single-use plastic bags and putting a fee on paper bags, Los Angeles County stepped up with a bag ordinance and now cities are lining up for their own individual ordinances. Thus far, seven separate municipalities in California have passed bag bans in the past six months. When the state fails to act on an important issue like this it forces local governments to act in a piecemeal fashion to help protect the environment from plastic pollution.
Long Beach Surfrider member, Seamus Innes says “these plastic bags have a horrible impact on marine life and I’m proud to live in a city that is willing to take these first steps. Next stop, Styrofoam!”
The City of Long Beach has been working on the carryout bag ordinance for months and when L.A. County passed their ordinance it helped to propel local ordinances forward. L.A. County shared their Environmental Impact Report (EIR) with Long Beach. Long Beach utilized the County’s EIR and also developed an Addendum which added specific information relating to their local needs. The Surfrider Foundation Long Beach Chapter was happy to work with local residents and other groups such as Heal the Bay and Earth Resource Foundation on this important victory for the environment .
Plastic carryout bags will be banned in Long Beach effective August 1st, and there will be ten cent fee placed on paper bags that goes to the retailer to help with their cost of paper bags and education for the best alternative, reusable bags. Surfrider Foundation encourages everyone to remember their reusable bags when shopping and hopes that ordinances also lead to more reusable bag manufacturers in California providing green jobs.