California Senate Presses Plastic Bag Ban
The California Senate is once again considering a ban on single-use plastic bags – a ban that may have a better shot at passing this year after the California Grocers Association threw its support behind it this week, the Los Angeles Times reports.
State Senator Alex Padilla’s bill would eliminate single-use plastic bags in supermarkets and drug stores starting January 1, 2015 and then liquor stores and convenience stores would have until January 1, 2016 before the ban would take effect at those locations.
On Wednesday the Senate Environmental Quality Committee held its first hearing on the measure and the proposed legislation made progress, as the Senate Environmental Quality Committee approved the bill. The bill remains pending in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
If SB 405 is ultimately approved, the statewide ban would supersede the current plastic bag laws in various California localities, including Los Angeles, Long Beach, Pasadena, West Hollywood, Santa Monica, and more. Sacramento is also considering banning plastic bags. “California is known throughout the world for its policies to protect the environment. Many of our cities and counties have taken action and enacted local ordinances banning single-use bags. It is time for a statewide single-use plastic bag ban in California,” said Senator Alex Padilla.
Because a statewide ban would bring uniformity to the patchwork of ordinances that are currently in place, the California Grocers Association is backing SB 405. Not only is the California Grocers Association in support of a statewide ban, the environmental and business groups supporting SB 405 include Californians Against Wast, Environment California, Heal the Bay, Clean Seas Coalition, Azul, California League of Conservation Voters, Coastkeepers, Surfrider, and the California Retailers Association.
During a Press Conference in Sacramento this week, Padilla said, in part, “There is no such thing as a free bag. Single-use plastic bags increase the cost of groceries and increase costs to local governments for clean-up because so few of the bags are recycled. There is also a very real environmental cost to marine life, birds, and other wildlife.”
“Based on the experience of local jurisdictions that have enacted ordinances, we know a statewide policy would save local governments millions of dollars annually,” added Padilla.
Plastic bags are a popular subject in this year’s Senate and Assembly, with Padilla’s SB 405 being joined by SB 700 proposed by Senator Lois Wolk, which would put a tax on each sinlge-use paper or plastic shopping bag that is distributed at checkout and in the Assembly, with Levine’s proposal AB 158 which is almost identical to SB 405, banning single-use plastic bags.