Santa Monica’s City Council passed a plastic bag ban last month that will go into effect on September first this year. Fewer plastic bags equals more reusable bags and less junk sitting in landfills, which is great for the environment, right? Some say the ordinance, which will officially put the kabosh on single-use plastic “t-shirt” bags on September first, won’t have such a simple outcome.
While the hope is that many will start toting their groceries in canvas bags, plastic produce bags will still be permitted (the city recognizes this as a public health issue, especially at its popular farmer’s markets). Unfortunately, some of the handle-less produce bags that will used in place of the carry bags are larger and made of heavier plastic, so the switch may not be quite the boon to the environment that the City Council intended.
Fortunately, the city plans to give away reusable produce bags in the beginning weeks of transition to a plastic bag-less Santa Monica, but we hope the city finds a way to regulate bag usage based on environmental benefit, rather than handle design.