More than 90 cities and counties around the state of California have already taken action to adopt plastic bag ordinances to phase out single-use carryout bags. Napa Valley CanDo, a grassroots community service organization, believes it is time for Napa to do the same. Members of CanDo have been working since 2010 to educate local residents about the environmental damage caused by single-use plastic bags that get into the environment and waste resources.
According to CanDo, a conservative statewide estimate shows 14 billion plastic bags are used annually; this translates to approximately 51 million plastic bags discarded annually in Napa County. They end up in landfills, litter the landscape, pollute river and creeks, kill wildlife and jam recycling equipment.
Education efforts alone cannot solve the problem: a 2012 Better Bag Month bag giveaway and education program resulted in only a modest increase in reusable bag use. However, jurisdictions that have instituted a ban on single-use plastic bags and that charge for paper bags have seen an increase in the use of reusable bags accompanied by a stunning decrease in plastic bag use of 95 percent. Paper bag use also decreased by 30 percent, and there was a 60 percent decrease in plastic litter reaching waterways.
The City of Napa and St. Helena and Napa County leaders have agreed to take action to promote reusable bags and reduce single-use bags. The City of Napa is planning to host a series of public meetings with residents and businesses to discuss the proposed ordinance it is planning to bring to City Council this summer. CanDo solicited 250 signatures in support of the adoption of an ordinance banning the distribution of single-use plastic carry-out bags. Click here
to read some of the comments from supporters.