This week the Santa Barbara County Supervisors moved closer to banning single-use plastic bags in the unincorporated areas of the county. In a divided vote, 3-2, the board’s majority agreed to move forward on a proposal that has been in works for more than two years. Supervisors Steve Lavagnino and Peter Adam voted against the ban.
The ban on plastic bags will only affect businesses in unincorporated areas such as Orcutt, Vandenberg Village, Santa Ynez, Isla Vista and Montecito.
The county’s ban is not as stringent as the ordinance in place in San Luis Obispo County where plastic bags cannot be distributed in supermarkets, clothing stores or retail businesses.
Santa Barbara County’s ordinance would only impact full-time retail stores such as grocery stores, pharmacies, liquor stores and other retail stores selling a limited line of items including bread, milk, snack foods and soda. The ban would not restrict produce bags or bags used by department stores, hardware stores, clothing stores or other retailers that don’t sell food. It also would not affect restaurants or wine and beer tasting rooms.
Officials estimate the law would affect 74 stores in the unincorporated area of Santa Barbara County.
Already in effect in the city of Santa Barbara, in nearby Carpinteria, and all of San Luis Obispo County, plastic bag bans have been successful in the region. This one for the entire county of Santa Barbara is scheduled to roll out next March. The issue will return to the Board of Supervisors on August 25th.