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<< Back to: Member News: ICLEI e-News | issue 8, June - July 2007

Fairfax moves to ban plastic shopping bags

June 26, 2007

Fairfax (California, U.S.A.) is planning to institute a ban on the use of non-biodegradable plastic bags by all stores, shops, eating establishments and retail food vendors by February 2008.

This initiative was brought forward by Fairfax Mayor Larry Bragman and Council Member Lew Tremaine.  The Town Council has taken a leadership role in the past, having banned the use of disposable Styrofoam containers for food take-out 10 years ago.

Most plastic bags do not biodegrade, but photo-degrade, which means they break down into smaller and smaller bits, the majority of which end up in oceans and waterways.  Marine life mistakes these plastic bits for food, and these highly-contaminated fragments enter our food chain and cause hormonal disruption in the fish that ingest them and then in the humans that ingest the fish.

Waste management approaches also reduce transportation-related emissions and overall energy savings by reusing items that would otherwise have to be manufactured. Also, a dependence on landfills can be reduced through waste prevention and recycling measures, resulting in the further elimination of greenhouse gas emissions. For more information on the importance of waste management, please visit www.iclei.org/ccp.

Fairfax is one of 167 local governments in the U.S.A. that are currently Members of ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability. For more information on ICLEI and its activities in the U.S.A., please visit www.iclei.org/usa.

Source:  “Town Moves to Ban Plastic Shopping Bags”, Town of Fairfax Press Release, 15 June 2007.

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