Living Green

Apr 6, 2010 9:55 PM by Ariel Wesler

Reusable bags becoming more popular

More cities across America are taking up the fight against plastic shopping bags. The city of Santa Barbara is one of them. It's currently considering a 25-cent tax on plastic bags. City leaders say it's not only environmentally friendly, but would raise millions of dollars in added revenue.

The classic checkout question is changing as more cities consider cracking down on plastic bags. Santa Barbara is the lateset city considering a 25 cent tax on shoppers who use them.

"Tax is important. That makes everyone think. I mean, if you're not charged for it, you'll just keep doing it and keep wasting," said Joe Lino of Santa Maria.

"No, that's overrated. I think if you make them pay, that they'll. . .I don't care. I will or I won't," said Glenda Estes of Orcutt.

So far, neither Santa Maria nor Santa Barbara County is considering any kind of ban, but state law requires all grocery stores to have bins for plastic recycling.

"What we don't use, we do return to the store," Lino said.
Californians go through more than 11 billion plastic bags per year and grocery stores use thousands of them each day.

More stores are stepping up, doing what they can to help the environment, offering reusable bags instead.

On Earth Day coming up, we have the Pay It Forward promotion where the first person gets a bag and then if they'd like to donate a dollar, the next person gets one for free," said Marvin Byrd, the Store Manager at the Albertson's in Santa Maria.

And it's not just grocery stores. Retailers throughout town sell the bags for about a dollar. Some like, Target, even offer five cent discounts for bringing your own.

"I do use them occasionally, but most of the time I forget to bring them into the store," Estes said.

"I like that i feeling like we're going to save the environment in some way," said another shopper.

Perhaps one bag at at time.

Stores say you shouldn't feel embarassed about bringing a bag from one store into a competitor's store. Many managers say there is no competition when it comes to helping the environment.

San Francisco passed the nation's first bag ban in 2007. Starting July 1, Los Angeles will also outlaw plastic bags and charge at least 25 cents, if you don't bring your own.


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