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Tuesday night Mayor Jill Techel and the Napa City Council showed themselves to have the leadership qualities voters recognized as exceptional when we elected them to office.

Their accomplishment was to unanimously pass a single-use carryout bag reduction ordinance for our city. Napa Valley CanDo would like to thank them, as well as city staff, Sustainable Napa County, students, business leaders, longtime residents and people from all walks of life who cared enough to write letters, attend in support or address the council.

It is not just a fond hope that this ordinance, when enacted in January 2015, will significantly reduce the unsustainable negative effects of plastic bags. Californians Against Waste informs us that cities and counties that have instituted a single-use plastic bag ban have seen use decrease by 95 percent and plastic litter in waterways decrease by 60 percent.

Every month Napa Valley CanDo Waterways Keepers volunteers see firsthand how difficult it is to keep up with the relentless clutter of this toxic material at our cleanups of local creeks and the Napa River. For nearly three years students, employee groups, Scout troops and everyday citizens who have participated in cleanups have come to know well that our waterways are not meant to be moving trash highways.

The blight and litter causes a threat to wildlife and seems unstoppable as long as single-use plastic bags are distributed and carried so widely everyday, everywhere — a habit we cannot afford. We have many good alternatives and the community is ready to make the change. Ordinances have already been adopted in 112 California cities or counties. The time is right for Napa to be counted among these leaders.

The positive benefits of phasing out carryout plastic bags include cost savings to taxpayers, environmental protection, removal of a source of blight on our beautiful city and landscape, assisting our compliance with a pending state mandate to reduce trash obstruction of storm drains, and moving us forward in meeting landfill disposal reduction goals by 2020.

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With this very important vote, the city of Napa is moving forward in a positive direction by expressing our community’s core values and setting an example of stewardship for our children.

The Napa City Council has taken a significant step in eliminating one more element of the harmful throw-away culture that we have all needed to put behind us for decades.

Thank you all.

Lindberg is the CanDo Plastics Initiative coordinator and Smetana is the CanDo Waterways Keepers volunteer coordinator.

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