California became the first state in the U.S. to ban single-use plastic bags, after its legislature recently passed the measure. The bill was set to go to Governor Jerry Brown for his signature.
If Brown signs the measure into law, single-use plastic grocery bags will be prohibited in supermarkets and drug stores as of July 1, 2015, with smaller grocery stores and convenience stores following suit a year later.
“This is a proactive solution that moves the economy forward into the green future,” said state Senator Kevin De Leon, who introduced the bill along with Senators Alex Padilla and Ricardo Lara. “With it, we will dramatically reduce the scourge of single-use plastic bags on our coastlines, our beautiful beaches, the Los Angeles River; at the same time, let me highlight and emphasize, grow jobs in California for Californians.”
Under the bill, stores will be able to sell a recycled paper bag for no less than 10 cents, except if the shopper receives food stamps or is a recipient of a nutrition program for women and children. The bill also appropriates $2 million for creation and retention of jobs related to manufacturing and “recycling of plastic reusable grocery bags that use recycled content,” the bill stated.
Many cities and counties in California, including both San Francisco and Los Angeles, have already passed varying measures that limit single-use plastic bags. This statewide law, though, failed to pass through the legislature last year and was fraught with legal drama through this year’s session as lobbying group American Progressive Bag Alliance decried the economic impact of a 10-cent charge on shoppers who don’t bring their own bags.