The ordinance, which applies to all retail stores that sell clothing, food, and personal items directly to consumers, takes effect Feb. 3, 2014.
Los Gatos Vice Mayor Steven Leonardis was the only dissenting vote.
“The Town Council has taken another critical step in implementing the Los Gatos Sustainability Plan adopted just two years ago,” said Town Manager Greg Larson.
“Los Gatos is now in step with most of Silicon Valley to minimize plastic bags and waste polluting our precious creeks and the beautiful Bay,” Larson said.
The Council adopted its Sustainability Plan in July 2012, which called for measures to reduce solid waste, a staff report issued by the town in May stated.
"The use of single-use carry out bags contributes to negative environmental impacts on air quality, biological resources, greenhouse gas emissions and water quality, and contributes to the increase of litter in storm drains, creeks, the bay and the ocean," the report added.
In October 2009, the Santa Clara County Recycling and Waste Reduction Commission recommended that all jurisdictions in the county establish a ban on plastic single-use, carry-out bags and a mandatory charge on paper carry-out bags at retail stores, excluding restaurants and fast -food establishments, the report said.
In June 2011, the Santa Clara County Cities Association supported this recommendation.“This important step forward for Los Gatos shows yet again that we can achieve lasting victories for the ocean and our environment,” said Nathan Weaver with Environment California in a press release.
“Banning plastic bags is the right choice to protect our rivers, beaches, and the Pacific Ocean. I applaud the Town Council members for their leadership on this issue,” Weaver said.
Single-use plastic bags are one of the most common garbage items removed from California’s beaches by Ocean Conservancy volunteers, Weaver added.
They are a direct threat to ocean wildlife, like the sea turtles that mistake them for edible jellyfish, he continued.
One in three leatherback sea turtles studied had
plastic in their stomachs, most often a plastic bag, according to an
analysis of over 370 autopsies.
A study by the Bay Area Stormwater Management Agencies Association found that plastic shopping bags alone make up as much as 8 percent of the garbage that reaches the San Francisco Bay, he said.
“Nothing we use for a few minutes should pollute the ocean for hundreds of years,” commented Weaver.
bag bans have enjoyed tremendous success across California.
Los Gatos is the 80th California local government to ban single-use plastic bags, including San Francisco, San Jose, Richmond, Oakland, Palo Alto, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Los Altos, Cupertino and Campbell.
State legislation regarding single-use carryout bags includes Senate Bill 405, authored by Senator Alex Padilla and Assembly Bill 158, authored by Assemblyman Marc Levine. Each measure seeks to prohibit stores that have a specified amount of dollar sales or retail floor space from providing a single-use carryout bag to a customer.Longtime Los Gatos resident Mary Tomasi-Dubois said while it'll take some getting use to and seem inconvenient at first, "I think we need to do all we can to save the environment. The darn things get into the waterways and are a danger to wild life."