California legislators send plastic bag ban bill to Governor

California legislators send plastic bag ban bill to Governor

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Last week, California legislators passed a bill that would ban single use plastic bags in grocery stores and in large pharmacies. If California Governor Jerry Brown signs the bill into law, the state will become the first to ban single use plastic bags.

According to Reuters:

“The California Senate voted 22-15 for the bill, which must be signed into law by Sept. 30 by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, who has not signaled a position on the measure.

“Single-use plastic bags not only litter our beaches, but also our mountains, our deserts, and our rivers, streams and lakes,” said state Senator Alex Padilla, who sponsored the bill.

Padilla backed a similar measure last year but it failed by three votes. The fate of this bill was uncertain until the waning hours of the session after falling three votes short in the state’s Assembly on Monday.

But after picking up the support of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, the bill passed a second vote in the Assembly.”

So far Governor Brown has not taken a stance on the bill. Consumers will be affected by the ban if they do not bring reusable bags to grocery stores and large pharmacies because they will incur a $.10 per paper bag fee in their bill.

According to Environment California, “Californians throw away 123,000 tons of plastic bags each year.” Many of those bags end up in the ocean. Plastic bags often strangle and suffocate wildlife. Some have also argued that plastic bags contribute to blight because when the wind blows, they get caught in trees.

Photo credit: eflon via Flickr, Trash Tree

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