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Council Takes First Step Toward Banning Plastic Grocery Bags

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Sue Vang with the group Californians Against Waste said a ban would benefit the environment and would save city-run recycling centers a-hundred-thousand-dollars a year.

"Sacramento facilities shut down six times each day to pull these bags from their machines," Vang said. "And in the city of San Jose, which banned bags in 2010, they estimated a loss of million dollars each year when these bags were jamming up their machines."

Councilmember Steve Cohn said the city should ban plastic bags and impose at least a ten cent fee on paper bags to reduce pollution. 

"Frankly, even a 25 percent reduction would be significant and to have that not out on our streets or in our rivers or streams, or in the ocean, all of that would be beneficial," Cohn said.

More than 60 cities and counties in California have already banned plastic bags.  About a fifth of them have been sued by a group called "Save the Plastic Bag"   

The group sued most of the cities to force them to create environmental impact reports. 

Attorney Stephen Joseph said environmental groups have exaggerated the amount and/or type of plastic pollution in the Pacific Ocean.

"Some of the companies in our coalition produce the very kinds of reusable  bags that would benefit from these bans. Nevertheless they want to see these bans based on the truth," Joseph said. 

The council isn't likely to take a full vote on a bag ban until summer.  


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