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California passes historic bag ban

Friday, September 05, 2014   (0 Comments)
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Source: Resource Recycling


California has become the first state in the nation to ban plastic checkout bags from grocery and convenience stores.

The bill, SB 270, was passed last Friday by a vote of 22-15 in the state Senate. It now heads to the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown, who has until Sept. 30 to sign the bill into law.

If signed, as some local reports suggest will happen, SB 270 will ban plastic "single-use" bags offered at grocery and convenience stores throughout the state and would install a minimum 10-cent fee on reusable, compostable and paper bags. The bill, authored by Sen. Alex Padilla, also allocates $2 million from a state recycling loan fund to provide plastic bag companies capital loans to transition into the reusable bag manufacturing market.

With the 2014 legislative session coming to an end Aug. 31, the pressure was on for ban advocates to pass the bill through both the Assembly and Senate. After the Assembly initiallyshot down the measure, bill lobbyists and advocates pushed successfully for a revote. That revote proved successful, and the bill moved on to the Senate.

Bag ban supporters pushed for similar bans in 2010 and 2013, but both times failed to garner enough backing from the state legislature — the efforts faced tremendous opposition from plastic bag makers and the paper bag industry.

That opposition is now focused on the governor.

"The advancement of SB 270 is a perfect example of why California citizens are disgusted by their state legislature," Lee Califf, executive director of the American Progressive Bag Alliance, said in a statement. "SB 270 threatens thousands of California manufacturing jobs, hurts the environment by mandating the distribution of thicker plastic bags, and directs all fees collected into the pockets of grocers and their union partners."

"We urge Governor Brown to look closely at the terrible consequences of this legislation and veto it," Califf continued in the statement.

From 2007, when San Francisco passed its bag ban measure to the beginning of 2014, more than 100 local bag ban ordinances had been passed in the Golden State.

The bill dictates local ordinances already passed would remain intact, and the state law would target the remaining two-thirds of California's population not already covered by a ban.

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