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Santa Monica Really Says So Long to Single Use Plastic Bags September 1

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Photo by currybet via Flickr
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Shoppers, your 6-month grace period is over: Tomorrow begins a life of BYOBag for shoppers in Santa Monica, as the city's Single-Use Carryout Bag Ban goes into full enforcement September 1.

Under the ban, all 1,900 Santa Monica retailers are prohibited from giving customers single-use plastic carryout bags. If you didn't bring your own, stores will charge shoppers ten cents apiece for recycled content paper bags.

The ban was passed back in January by a 4-0 vote. In the following months, the city worked to distribute thousands of reusable bags to residents, and to educate retailers about the ways their business can continue to operate without relying on disposable plastic shopping bags.

As part of that retail strategy, the money generated by the paper bag sales with stay with the stores themselves, and is meant to act as an incentive for shoppers to bring in their own reusable bags.

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There are some key exemptions to the ban in Santa Monica:

* The ban does not apply to produce bags, product bags, packaging or bags for take-out food.
* For customers participating either in the California Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children or the Supplemental Food Program, stores are required to provide a free reusable bag or paper bag.

Heal the Bay believes 26 million single-use shopping bags are used every year in Santa Monica. Assemblywoman Julia Brownley (D-Santa Monica) is among those happy to welcome the ban in her hometown. In a statement released today, Brownley, who is working to get a statewide bag ban in place, remarked:

"I look forward to the day when plastic bags stop swirling around our feet in the waves, and no longer mar our beaches or kill marine life. The American Chemistry Council thought it could kill this movement last year, but since then six cities and counties have passed their own bans and a seventh won a legal ruling to proceed with its bag ordinance.”

Santa Monica joins cities like Long Beach, and Calabasas, as well as unincorporated L.A. County in implementing a ban on plastic bags.