Support for the Single-Use Carryout Bag Fee Ordinance

(We submitted the letter below to the City of Morgan Hill regarding the proposal to require a fee for using plastic or paper bags. -Brian)

January 8, 2009

Tony Eulo

City of Morgan Hill

Re: Committee for Green Foothills’ support for the Single-Use Carryout Bag Fee Ordinance

Dear Tony;

The Committee for Green Foothills supports Morgan Hill‘s proposed Bag Fee Ordinance. As any Morgan Hill resident that has taken the opportunity to hike Coyote Ridge can see (and if any residents haven’t hiked there, they should), even a well-managed landfill like Kirby Landfill has problems with wind-blown plastic bags escaping the landfill and polluting the countryside. These bags often settle in Coyote Ridge stream areas where they obstruct growth of endangered plants only found by the streams. Any streamside hiker or canoeist throughout the County will find countless plastic bags along larger creeks and rivers, and bags often obstruct storm sewer grates and limit flooding drainage. From the esthetic ugliness along roadsides alone, plastic bags constitute the perfect example of an environmental externality whose cost, absent the proposed fee, is imposed instead on society at large.

Paper bags create similar problems. When we opposed the permanent logging permit that San Jose Water Company requested for thousands of acres of redwoods and Douglas firs from Lexington Reservoir extending southeast halfway to Morgan Hill, we were appropriately challenged as to where wood and wood pulp would come from instead. An important response to this challenge is to avoid wasting wood pulp and energy in paper bags, and the fee will appropriately reduce that waste.

We hope that Morgan Hill will move forward in support of the position of City staff, Santa Clara County Cities Association, and the Recycling and Waste Reduction Commission of Santa Clara County.

Please contact us if you have any questions.


Brian A. Schmidt

Legislative Advocate, Santa ClaraCounty

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