CanDo members have been educating themselves on the environmental damage and waste of resources caused by single use carryout bags for several years.
We have come to the conclusion that as long as apparently free plastic and paper bags are so available there will be little change in shopper habits.
A community-wide education program (Better Bag Month 2011) with its many activities showed that shoppers will not easily switch to reusable bags.
There are now 65 other cities and counties throughout CA that have turned to a single use bag ordinance banning single use plastic bags and requiring a charge for paper bags with some logical exceptions.
Results in other cities and counties show a major success with vast reduction in plastic bag litter and trash and a 30% reduction in the use of paper bags. Reusable bag use increases over time.
The cost to write the ordinance, do the environmental document and outreach is a one-time upfront cost with years of environmental benefit.
We especially want Napa County residents to sign this petition.
Napa Valley CanDo is a diverse group of Napa County residents inspired to serve and committed to bettering our community. We are a non-partisan grassroots organization started little more than 3 years ago and now have over 1,000 subscribers to our email blast.
There quickly developed a consensus amongst CanDo members that addressing the local environmental problems created by single-use plastic bags should be a top priority. Approximately 51 million plastic bags are discarded each year in Napa County, of which no more than 5% are recycled, creating long-term economic and environmental costs.
After CanDo ran a comprehensive reusable bag give-away/education program, a survey showed only a small increase in reusable bag use. Thus we concluded that the only way to create real change would be through an ordinance that phases out single-use plastic carry-out bags in retail stores (with certain exemptions), and encourages consumers to use reusable bags, the most sustainable alternative.
After studying the process through which other cities in California have successfully passed bans on plastic bags, CanDo has created a draft ordinance to be presented to the City and County for approval.
But we need your help! The names on this petition will be delivered to the local decision makers who will decide whether to pass the ordinance we have written, and the more local residents’ names we have, the more persuasive our case will be.
Let our representatives know that you are very concerned that plastic bags are littering our community, depleting resources, and using taxpayer dollars on plastic bag litter cleanup.
We also encourage you to share your personal thoughts about why you feel strongly in support of this effort – we’ll use some of your comments.
• Estimates indicate 51 million single-use plastic carry-out bags are discarded in Napa County each year, with 14 billion used statewide. They are used for an average of only 12 minutes. Less than 5% of plastic bags are recycled, even after years of education about the benefits of recycling.
• Plastics are bad for our health and the health of wildlife, and are entering the food chain. Exposed to the sun, they break down into tiny toxic particles that degrade water and soil. When they enter the Napa River, the bay and the ocean, marine animals and birds often see these bags as a source of food. Miniscule plastic pieces eaten by fish are then eaten by us. At least 267 species are affected worldwide.
• Plastics used to make single-use plastic bags are derived from non-renewable fossil fuels, which are too scarce and valuable to be wasted on plastic bags.
• Local taxpayers bear the burden of cleanup costs, not the plastic bag manufacturers. Cleanup costs cover clearing jams at the recycling center, clearing clogged storm drains, and litter pick up. Plastic carry-out bags take over 100 years to decompose in landfills.
You can help solve this pervasive and costly environmental problem! Please join us.