Santa Cruz County eyes sweeping plastic prohibitions

Water bottles, to-go ware, cigarette filters among items in the crosshairs

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After being sorted, material to be taken to a landfill is piled up at the Green Waste material recovery facility on Thursday, March 28, 2019, in San Jose. (Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group)
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SANTA CRUZ — Already among California’s most restrictive jurisdictions for plastics and other waste, Santa Cruz County is taking a close look at a range of potential new prohibitions.

Plastic water bottles and plastic to-go ware are in the crosshairs, along with helium balloons, cigarettes with filters, e-cigarettes, and single-use beverage machines and their disposable pods. Also under consideration: A fee for disposable cups — similar to the statewide 10 cent fee for grocery bags — and a requirement that all businesses provide recycling bins for their customers.

No ordinances have yet been put forward. But at the request of county supervisors, public works officials are reviewing the impacts of numerous potential new regulations aimed at cutting down on waste, while soliciting feedback from the business community, environmental groups and the general public.

“This is the broadest spectrum of plastic pollution issues that we’ve addressed all at once,” said Tim Goncharoff, the county’s Zero Waste programs manager. “So it is pretty ambitious, and we think this could have a dramatic impact.”

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