Sacramento Passes Plastic Bag Ban

The city of Sacramento became the 130th California jurisdiction to approve a ban of single-use plastic bags. Effective next January, shoppers must either bring in their own reusable bags or be charged 10 cents for each recycled paper bag used by the store, with a few exceptions for short-term promotions and low-income shoppers. A report compiled by Sacramento’s city government shows that nearly 14 million plastic bags are used in the capital each month. According to environmental advocacy organization Californians Against Waste, 19 billion plastic bags are distributed each year by retailers in California.

“This is about our city resuming our spot as a leader in the state of California and doing the right thing,” says Mayor Kevin Johnson.

In February, a statewide California ban was rescinded when a trade group gathered enough signatures to prompt an upcoming voter referendum. Voters will ultimately decide whether a statewide single-use ban is enacted or not. Johnson proposed his city’s local ordinance in response to the referendum, and the state ban will supersede the Sacramento ordinance if it is reinstated in November 2016. Sacramento’s ban requires stores to keep three years of sales records for paper and reusable bags, a provision that’s not in the state’s ban.

Arizona lawmakers took the opposite stance, passing a bill to prevent towns, cities and counties in that state from banning single-use plastic bags. The measure, which was awaiting a signature by Gov. Doug Ducey, was being touted as a way to stop overregulation and strict environmental rules.