Capitola Bans Plastic Bags

Dec. 14, 2012—The Capitola City Council put Cuteness-by-the-Sea on track last night to become the third city in Santa Cruz County to ban single-use plastic bags—the kind you get doubled-up at grocery stores because one alone can’t hold the milk jug and which, let’s be honest, many people like to use for picking up dog poop.

The new law, which would forbid grocery and convenience stores from using the filmy ocean polluters, would also impose a 25-cent fee on paper bags. Restaurants offering take-out service would be exempt. The Santa Cruz Sentinel reports that the law could go into effect within three months of the ordinance’s second reading.

Plastic bags are becoming persona non grata in Santa Cruz County. In March a countywide ban took effect for unincorporated areas, leaving the four cities—Capitola, Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley and Watsonville—to fill in the holes. In April Watsonville passed a ban. (You read that right: first in the county was Watsonville.) Santa Cruz’s rule against the petroleum-based offenders took effect in July. Capitola looks poised to follow suit. That leaves just Scotts Valley, which, leery of legal battles with the litigation-happy Save the Plastic Bags Coalition, decided in September to put the issue off.

Banning plastic bags in cities and counties on Monterey Bay has been a priority of the Santa Cruz-based nonprofit Save Our Shores for several years. In Monterey County, the cities of Monterey and Carmel have banned plastic bags, and almost every city and county on the bay except for Sand City has outlawed Styrofoam containers. That’s the power of jellyfish suits, people.