Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law the first statewide ban in the United States of single-use bags in certain uses.
Senate Bill 270 will prohibit grocery stores and pharmacies from distributing single-use plastic bags beginning July 1, 2015. The same ban applies to convenience and liquor stores the following year. The bill calls for up to $2 billion in competitive loans for businesses to shift to the manufacture of reusable bags.
Stores can sell paper, durable reusable bags and compostable bags for a minimum charge of 10 cents each.
Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) authored the bill, along with Sen. Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) and Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Huntington Park/Long Beach). The bill passed the legislature earlier this month.
“This bill is a step in the right direction – it reduces the torrent of plastic polluting our beaches, parks and even the vast ocean itself,” Brown said in a news release. “We’re the first to ban these bags, and we won’t be the last.”
Sacramento-based Californians Against Waste sponsored the bill. “California policy makers have made a clear statement in enacting the bag ban: Producers are responsible for the end of life impacts of their products,” said Mark Murray, executive director of the group, in a news release. “If a product is too costly to society and the environment, California is prepared to move to eliminate it.”
Currently, 127 cities and counties in the state have adopted a local bag ordinance, covering 36 percent of the population.
The Washington-based American Progressive Bag Alliance (APBA) has opposed the bill, and it said in a news release it plans to collect signatures for a referendum to repeal the bill in November 2016.
“The approval of SB 270 by the California legislature and Governor Jerry Brown could serve as a case study for what happens when greedy special interests and bad government collide in the policymaking process,” said Executive Director Lee Califf.
“Senator Padilla’s bill was never legislation about the environment. It was a back-room deal between the grocers and union bosses to scam California consumers out of billions of dollars without providing any public benefit – all under the guise of environmentalism. If this law were allowed to go into effect it would jeopardize thousands of California manufacturing jobs, hurt the environment and fleece consumers for billions so grocery store shareholders and their union partners can line their pockets.”