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Santa Cruz bans single-use plastic bottles for hotel toiletries

Single-use shampoo, conditioner and lotion bottles will disappear from hotels in Santa Cruz County following the Board of Supervisors’ vote Tuesday to ban the plastic products.

The county is one of the first in the country to implement the ban, according to the Board of Supervisors.

The ban will apply to all visitor accommodations, including motels and short-term vacation rentals such as Airbnb, and will go into effect on Dec. 31, 2020, following a final vote Dec. 4.

People with disabilities or special needs will have accommodations under the ban, and the rule will not apply to short-term rentals where the owner also lives in the home.

The ban hopes to address a problem of plastic pollution in the ocean off the Santa Cruz County coastline. Volunteers last year removed almost ten tons of pollution from county beaches, according to county officials.

Supervisor Zach Friend said in a statement:

“Environmental protection is a core value of Santa Cruz County. … Tourism is one of our leading industries, and many of our visitors come for Monterey Bay and our pristine beaches.”

Large hotel chains, including Marriott and Hilton, have already switched to bulk product dispensers in recent years to reduce plastic waste.

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