Caring for the marine environment through ocean awareness, advocacy, and citizen action.
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Banning Plastic Bags around the Sanctuary

Save Our Shores is leading the grassroots effort to protect marine life and clean up coastal communities - one plastic bag at a time. Here is the plastic bag ban progress report for our jurisdiction in the Central Coast of California:

Bans in Progress

  • City of Scotts Valley - Moving forward. Take Action! Sign and pass on this petition.
  • County of Monterey - Completed all Environmental Impact Reports and working toward a vote in 2013.
  • Cities of Marina, Salinas, Seaside, Sand City - No progress.
  • Woodside - ban discussed by City Council in February 2103 but the council did not vote. Ban is low priority.

Bans Passed - All ordinances have a $0.10 fee for paper bags except where noted below.

Santa Cruz County

  • Capitola - effective April 10, 2013 ($0.25 fee on paper bags)
  • City of Santa Cruz - effective April 10, 2013
  • Unincorporated Santa Cruz County - effective March 20, 2012 ($0.25 fee as of March 20, 2013). Restaurant bag ban effective April 22, 2013 (Earth Day).
  • Watsonville - effective September 8, 2012 ($0.25 fee as of September 8, 2013). Watsonville ameded their bag ban to increase the reusable bag to a 4.0mm thickness, this will take effect on April 24, 2014.

Monterey County

  • Carmel-by-the-Sea - effective February 3, 2013 (no fee on paper bags)
  • City of Monterey - effective July 1, 2012 ($0.25 fee as of January 1. 2013)

Santa Clara County

  • Campbell - effective January 27, 2014
  • Cupertino - effective October 1, 2013 (part of San Mateo County Ordinance)
  • Los Altos - effecive July 4, 2013 (part of San Mateo County Ordinance)
  • Los Gatos - effective February 4, 2014 (part of San Mateo County Ordinance)
  • Morgan Hill - effective April 22, 2013
  • Mountain View - effective April 22, 2013 (part of San Mateo County Ordinance)
  • Palo Alto - March 2009, expanded to all retrail stores (Effective July 1, 2013) and all food service establishments (Effective November 1, 2013)
  • San Jose - effective January 1, 2012 Click here for San Jose's Bring Your Own Bag Ordinance Implementation results.
  • Sunnyvale- effective June 20, 2012
  • Unincorporated Santa Clara County - effective January 1, 2012. ($0.15 fee on paper bags)

San Mateo County

  • Belmont - effective April 22, 2013
  • Brisbane - effective April 22, 2013
  • Burlingame - effective April 22, 2013
  • Colma - effective April 22, 2013
  • Daly City - effective April 22, 2013
  • East Palo Alto - effective October 2, 2013
  • Foster City - effective April 22, 2013
  • Half Moon Bay - effective April 22, 2013
  • Menlo Park - effective April 22, 2013
  • Millbrae - effective September 1, 2012
  • Pacifica - effective April 22, 2013
  • Portola Valley - effective April 22, 2013
  • Redwood City - effective October 1, 2013
  • San Bruno - effective April 22, 2013
  • San Carlos - effective effect July 1, 2013
  • City of San Mateo - effective June 6, 2013
  • South San Francisco - effective April 22, 2013
  • Unincorporated San Mateo County - effective April 22, 2013

Save Our Shores wants you to REFUSE disposable plastics - GO REUSABLE!

Take Action! Ban plastic bags in Scotts Valley.

We need your support - The fight to protect our ocean and communities has only just begun. Save Our Shores is continually pushing for bag bans around the Sanctuary while helping local shoppers with the transition by handing out thousands of free reusable bags. Join us!
Save Your Shores by joining us as Member today!

Why ban plastic bags?

Communities free of plastic bags lead to healthier oceans and rivers free of plastic pollution.

From Spring of 2007 to present, Save Our Shores volunteers have removed over 38,700 plastic bags from local beaches and rivers.

Dispite our best efforts, countless plastic bags have made their way into the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Plastic is not biodegradable, rarely recycled, made of toxic chemicals and petroleum, and is a product of mere convenience. Read our Plastic Bag Fact Sheet

In the marine environment, plastic wreaks havoc on marine life. It breaks down into smaller and smaller particles that absorb toxic chemicals, are ingested by wildlife, and enter the food chain.

Around 100 billion petroleum-based plastic checkout bags are used each year in the US, requiring 12 million barrels of oil each year. Plastic bag bans help preserve the integrity of our local ecosystems, reduce the burden on landfills, and cut back litter in our communities. They help prevent pollution, save taxpayer dollars, and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

The Central Coast Sanctuary Alliance is working to ban plastic bags in each county and municipality around the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Local ordinances to ban plastic bags are necessary to create healthy oceans and clean communities. Many other cities and counties have taken similar action recently including Monterey, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Los Angeles County, Marin County, and most recently, Santa Cruz County.


Did you know?

  • One reusable bag has the potential to replace over 500 single-use plastic bags a year!
  • Reusable bags reduce litter, conserve natural resources, and often support green businesses.
  • Of the plastic bags collected at curbside, only 4% are recycled, the rest wind up in our landfills, oceans, and communites.
  • Many cities no longer even collect plastic bags at curbside recycling because these plastic bags clog and jam recycling machinery! The City of San Jose estimates the cost of fixing these jams at $1 million a year.
  • Paper bags are also problematic. It takes 14 million trees each year in the US to produce a 1 year-supply of paper bags for retail use. The answer is: GO REUSABLE! REFUSE disposable plastics!

Voluntary Bag Bans: Local restaurants & businesses lead the way to a healthier Sanctuary!

By voluntarily banning us of plastic bags at their place of business, these local companies recognize the importance in Taking Action to protect their Sanctuary and communities from the blight of plastic pollution. And by collecting voluntary bag ban pledges from 37 local restaurants in Santa Cruz County, we helped pass the ground breaking amendment to include restaurants in the plastic bag ban, making it one of the toughest pollution-prevention ordinances in the nation.
THANK YOU to the following:

In Santa Cruz County:


In the City of Capitola:

Remember, it takes YOU - our local community - to create real change and we need your support to protect our ocean.
Take Action
by signing the petition above, join us on facebook to stay up to date on the latest news, and Donate today!

(Left) A local Girl Scout Toop Helps SOS petition in our community for a ban on single-use plastic bags

(Right) Students from Monarch School speak at the Santa Cruz City Council Meeting in support of the Single-Use Bag Reduction Ordinance

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