And it affects your hotel stays.

By Marisa Spyker
December 12, 2018
Arpad Benedek/Getty Images

If you plan on paying a visit to the surf-centric city of Santa Cruz soon, don’t count on leaving with a new collection of miniature toiletries.

Santa Cruz County, which encompasses 29 miles of coastline from the Pacific into Monterey Bay, recently passed an ordinance banning the distribution of mini plastic bottles that typically hold things like shampoo and lotion. The new law is believed to be the first of its kind in the U.S.

Mini bottles are the latest targets in the worldwide war on plastics, a movement that’s intended to eliminate single-use plastics that often end up in landfills or—worse—our oceans and waterways. Earlier this year, a wave of major cities and counties throughout the U.S. made the move to eliminate plastic straws and utensils. Single-use plastic bags and coffee lids are also on the chopping block.

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With shorelines that border one of the country’s most diverse marine ecosystems, Santa Cruz County has often led the charge in banning single-use plastics in California, with some of the first laws against straws, bags, and Styrofoam to-go containers across the state. According to Santa Cruz County supervisor Zach Friend, it’s these shorelines and ecosystems—a major economic and tourism draw for the county—that make the reduction in plastic waste so necessary.

“Single-use plastics have dire consequences for these ecosystems and threaten our local economy, and we must act locally to protect them,” said Friend.

The law against mini toiletry bottles, which goes into effect in 2020, means that hotels and vacation rentals will now need to offer larger bottles (12 ounces and up) or dispensers in each of their guest rooms. Hosted rooms, like Airbnbs where the owner is present on the property, are exempt.

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