California Legislature Approves Ban on Plastic Grocery Bags

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Paper or plastic? That might not be an option for much longer in California.

A bill banning single-use plastic bags has been passed by the state Senate and Assembly and is awaiting the signature of Gov. Jerry Brown. If he signs, it would make the Golden State the first in the nation to ban plastic sacks. Brown hasn’t let it be known what he plans to do.

According to The Press-Enterprise, the ban would impact grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores and liquor stores. While single-use plastic bags will be banned, merchants will be required to offer reusable plastic sacks, paper bags and compostable bags, for a cost of 10 cents per bag.

The Press-Enterprise said:

Few consumer issues have been more polarizing. Hailed by environmental groups for helping reduce the 14 billion plastic bags that are thrown away in the state annually, and by municipalities that spend millions to keep plastic waste under control, it has long been opposed by plastic bag manufacturers, who say such bans threaten American jobs, as well as customers who enjoy free bags’ convenience.

Plastic bag manufacturers in California will get $2 million from the state’s bottle and can recycling fund to help them create heavier, multi-use bags that merchants can sell to customers.

Regardless, Cathy Browne, general manager at Crown Poly, a California plastic bag manufacturer, told Reuters that if the plastic bag ban bill is signed into law, it will force companies like hers to lay off employees.

I have several reusable grocery bags. We only have two grocery stores in our town. One offers customers plastic bags but not paper. The other grocer, which has both plastic and paper bags, offers a 10-cent discount for each reusable bag you use.

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