Sonoma County Waste Management
Wants your Feedback on Carry-out Bags
Sonoma County Waste Management Agency Holds Stakeholder and Community Feedback Forums on Carryout Bag Reduction Efforts
Feedback Will Help Determine What Restrictions Will Be Imposed On Paper And Plastic Carry-out bags
The Sonoma County Waste Management Agency (SCWMA) wants your feedback on what is to be done about paper and plastic carryout bags (the bags given for free at the checkout counter). To hear from as many businesses and citizens as possible, the SCWMA is hosting nine public meetings to present what actions are under consideration and to receive feedback. Interested parties are welcome to attend any or all of the meetings; there is no RSVP needed.
The SCWMA has been tracking legislation regarding carryout bags for over 4 years and since no significant statewide legislation to reduce litter and waste of these items has been adopted, the SCWMA is taking steps to act locally. While feedback has been received that there is general support for action on this issue, the SCWMA now wants to receive specific feedback from those who may be affected by carryout bag restrictions.
Why Carryout Bags:
In Sonoma County, paper and plastic carryout bag use is estimated at nearly
300 million bags per year, mainly plastic carryout bags – about 1.5 bags per Sonoma County resident per day. Even when placed in proper bins for disposal or recycling, carryout bags, especially those made of plastic, can become airborne. From there they often become litter or get entangled with landfill and recycling center equipment, requiring costly equipment repairs or work stoppage to clear the entanglement.
The Ocean Conservancy’s “Tracking Trash – 25 Year of Action for the Ocean” report found that plastic bags were the sixth most common debris item collected worldwide over the past 25 years. In 2010, plastic bags were the third most common debris item collected, which suggests plastic bag litter is increasing. The report describes wildlife entanglements observed during the events, and in 2010, plastic bags accounted for over 15% of the observed entanglements.
Paper or Plastic?:
Most discussions about single-use carryout bags involve the question of which is better for the environment, paper or plastic. According to the Green Cities California Master Environmental Assessment on the subject of carryout bags, paper bags generally have fewer environmental impacts in some respects (e.g. aesthetics, biological resources) and greater impacts in others (e.g. air quality, water consumption, and mineral resources) when compared to plastic bags. However, in all areas where significant data existed, the MEA found that reusable bags were associated with fewer negative environmental impacts than paper, plastic, and compostable plastic carryout bags.
How do we facilitate a widespread consumer shift from disposable, single-use bags to reusable bags? The SCWMA hopes to hear your answers at the outreach meetings. Email comments are also welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Outreach Dates and Locations: All Meeting Start at 6 pm
March 12 – Petaluma Veterans Memorial, 1094 Petaluma Blvd S., Petaluma
March 13 – Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial, 1351 Maple Avenue, Santa Rosa
March 14 – Sonoma Veterans Memorial, 126 First Street West, Sonoma
March 19 – Cotati Veterans Memorial, 8505 Park Avenue, Cotati
March 20 – Cloverdale Veterans Memorial, 205 West First Street Cloverdale
March 22 – Windsor Community Center, Elsbree Hall, 901 Adele Drive, Windsor
March 23 – Rohnert Park Community Center, 5401 Snyder Lane, Rohnert Park
March 26 – Villa Chanticleer Annex, 1248 N. Fitch Mountain Road, Healdsburg
March 27 – Sebastopol Masonic Center, 373 N. Main Street, Sebastopol
About the Sonoma County Waste Management Agency:
The SCWMA, formed in 1992, is the joint powers authority of Cotati, Cloverdale, Healdsburg, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, Sonoma, Windsor and the unincorporated County. Its mission is diversion (as required by state law AB939) of household hazardous waste, composting and wood waste, as well as customer education and planning. Funding for its programs is derived from a surcharge on garbage delivered to county refuse disposal sites. Visit the SCWMA’s website at www.recyclenow.org