The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors will be asked Tuesday to craft an ordinance banning single-use plastic bags in the county’s unincorporated areas.
The supervisors are being asked by staff to come up with a draft ordinance, as well as how the ordinance would be enforced.
Approximately 658 million single-use bags are used annually within Santa Barbara and Ventura counties each year, according to a county staff report.
Because there is no statewide ban on single-use bags, local governments have tackled bans on their own, and more than 75 jurisdictions in the state have adopted ordinances restricting single-use bags.
Last week, the Los Angeles City Council voted to ban single-use plastic bags in grocery stores and pharmacies, making it the largest city in the country to enact such a ban.
Santa Barbara County is a member of the Beach Erosion Authority for Clean Oceans and Nourishment, or BEACON, a group of municipalities that shared the cost of an environmental impact report. The EIR was needed to protect the governments from litigation and included all of Ventura and Santa Barbara County, with the exception of Ojai and Carpinteria, which had previously implemented bans on single use bags.
If an ordinance is agreed upon Tuesday, it would come back before the board for final approval at the end of the summer.
The EIR was based on the City of Santa Barbara’s draft ordinance, which would require grocery retail stores to charge a minimum of 10 cents for recyclable paper bags and prohibit the free distribution of paper or plastic bags. Shoppers would either have to pay for their paper bags or bring their own reusable bags to carry their groceries if the ordinance is put in place.
Santa Barbara County would also need to be named the lead agency on BEACON’s EIR document, and that process of public review, responding to comments and preparing the final draft would take a minimum of five months, according to the staff report.
The board already has approved $35,000 from the county’s general fund to develop the ordinance and modify the EIR.
Tuesday’s board meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. in the Board Hearing Room of the County Administration Building, 105 E. Anapamu St. in Santa Barbara.