It's time to act now! Let's join the other 60 California cities and 5 counties who have adopted ordinances reducing single-bag usage in their communities. We want our City Council to protect the natural beauty of Lake Tahoe, our rivers, watersheds and wildlife. Did you know that if everyone in the United States tied their annual consumption of plastic bags together in a giant chain, the chain would reach around the Earth's equator 776 times!
Many municipalities from our City’s tourist corridor have banned or have taken action to discourage the use of plastic single-use carry-out bags for the protection of the environment and to promote sustainability principles, including the Cities of San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, Palo Alto, Fairfax, Sunnyvale, and the Counties of Monterey, Santa Clara, Marin, San Mateo and Santa Cruz. Let's join our visitors in reducing single-use plastic bags in South Lake Tahoe! Please urge the City Council of South Lake Tahoe to pass the Bring Your Own Bag!
Dear City of South Lake Tahoe Council Member, I am writing to urge you to approve the proposed Bring Your Own Bag ordinance restricting the free distribution of single-use plastic and paper bags in the City of South Lake Tahoe. Californians use an estimated 12 billion plastic bags per year. Only five percent of these bags are actually recycled.
As a taxpayer, I’m alarmed to find out that the City of South Lake Tahoe, along with other municipalities statewide, spends more than $25 million each year to clean up plastic single-use bags from public places, storm drains, and in our waste stream. Local taxpayer dollars are also spent to comply with Stormwater Permit requirements and other standards in communities with “trash-impaired” waterways as defined under the federal Clean Water Act. The proposed Bring Your Own Bag ordinance would help lower cleanup costs in these tough economic times.
In addition to the economic benefits of a plastic bag ban, there are countless environmental benefits. These include reduced use of natural resources for bag production, reduced wildlife fatalities from strangulation and suffocation, and improved water quality. For all intents and purposes, plastic never biodegrades; instead it slowly photo degrades. As it photo degrades, plastic film breaks into smaller and smaller pieces which attract surrounding toxins. When mistaken as a food source, these plastic particles form a progressively greater health risk of food chain contamination.
Plastic pollution is a global problem with local solutions. Banning the free distribution of bags is widely considered an appropriate and practical legislative action that can protect our environment and save financial resources. This approach is similar to 44 California cities and 5 counties around the region and the state.
Many municipalities from our City’s tourist corridor have banned or taken action to discourage the use of single-use carry-out plastic bags for the protection of the environment and to promote sustainability principles, including the Cities of San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, Palo Alto, Fairfax, Sunnyvale and the counties of Monterey, Santa Clara, Marin, San Mateo and Santa Cruz.
Thus, I strongly urge you to move forward with the Bring Your Own Bag ordinance that includes a 10-cent fee on the distribution of paper bags. It is a practical approach to addressing a profound problem.
Let’s put South Lake Tahoe on the map of sustainability. Residents and visitors of South Lake Tahoe will thank you for generations to come.