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Sacramento County Finalizes Approval On Plastic Bag Ban

The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors has finalized the approval on a partial ban on single-use plastic bags, which will go into effect July 1, 2016. After that date, grocery stores, retailers that sell food, including Target and Wal-Mart, pharmacies larger than 10,000 square feet and convenience stores in Sacramento County will no longer offer single-use plastic bags.

The Board voted 4-1 in favor of the ban on March 22. “This, to me, really is a no-brainer,” said Supervisor Patrick Kennedy at the time of the vote. “It has the most benefit for the least inconvenience.”

Consumers will be obligated to bring their own bags or pay ten cents for a paper or reusable bag. Exempt are restaurants, farmer’s markets and stores that do not sell food or pharmaceuticals. Sacramento County is the 148th jurisdiction in California to approve a ban.

“It’s great to see the Capitol area become plastic-bag free,” said Mark Murray of California vs. Big Plastic to YubaNet, a California news outlet. California vs. Big Plastic is a coalition of groups seeking to prevent the overturning of the state’s Single-Use Carryout Bag Ban (SB 270), passed in September 2014. “For most people, banning plastic bags comes down to protecting the environment,” added Murray. “People don’t want plastic bags littering the environment, and they don’t want plastic bags killing turtles and other marine life.”

The county ban follows a similar single-use plastic bag ban by the Sacramento City Council, which went into effect January 1 this year. Earlier this month, the Minneapolis City Council voted to outlaw single-use plastic bags. In February, Montreal approved a similar prohibition, an ordinance that goes into effect on January 1, 2018.