Assembly votes to ban plastic grocery bags
June 3, 2010
The state Assembly has passed legislation prohibiting California pharmacies and grocery, liquor, and convenience stores from using plastic bags. The bill also calls for customers to be charged for using store-issued paper bags. [AP]
Lawmakers say the purpose of the bill is to reduce the number of plastic bags headed for the landfill and to get rid of the bags that commonly end up in the ocean or riverways.
Other countries including Ireland, China, and South Africa already use fees or bans to reduce the amount of plastic bags.
In 2007, San Francisco became the first U.S. city to require supermarkets and large drug stores to offer customers only bags made from recyclable material.
AB 1998 still needs to clear the Senate. Gov. Schwarzenegger has already indicated his willingness to sign the legislation, hailing it as “a great victory for our environment.”
The American Chemistry Council argues that the bill, which would take effect Jan. 1, 2012, would amount to a $1 billion tax and cost 500 jobs in the plastic bag manufacturing business.
Republicans questioned whether some families could afford the fee for paper bags, estimated by some to be an additional $50 a year.