UPDATE: Calif moves to ban plastic bags at grocery stores
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - It could soon cost California shoppers at the checkout if they forget to bring their own bag to the grocery store.
Legislation passed Wednesday by the California Assembly would prohibit grocery stores, pharmacies, liquor stores and convenience stores from giving out plastic bags. It would also charge customers for using store-issued paper bags.
If signed into law, California would be the first state to impose a statewide ban.
The ban's goal is to get rid of unsightly plastic bags that often wind up in urban rivers and the ocean, as well as reduce the number of bags heading for landfills.
A spokesman for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said the Republican Governor supports a plastic bag ban. The bill, AB 1998, still needs Senate approval.
SACRAMENTO - State Lawmakers will vote this week on a Bill that would make it illegal for California stores to use single-use bags.
Assembly Bill 1998 would ban single-use plastic bags as well as charge for paper bags at large retailers throughout the state.
According to the California Integrated Waste Management Board, the average Californian uses 600 plastic bags per year, that's 19-billion bags cumulatively. Only 5% of those are said to be recycled.
In the past couple years, several cities throughout California have tried to pass Legislation to ban the bags. San Francisco and Malibu are two cities that have succeeded in banning single- use bags.
People on the Central Coast have mixed reactions to the proposal: Scott Smiley doesn't think people will commit to bring bags to-and-from stores. Instead, he says there should be an environmentally friendly option in the stores, "Come up with a biodegradable bag or something, you know, that's not going to hurt the environment.That's what they're going to have to do, because no one's going to carry the bags to the store and leave with them."
Inez Hayes is already a support of the reusable bag movement: "There's too many people that aren't interested in conserving. I myself, I have the bags at home, but I keep forgetting to bring them in my purse all the time."
Fortune Monroe believes in reusing bags, but plastic ones: "I don't like using the reusable bags. I like the plastic bags, I use them for a lot of different stuff, so they're useful to me."
Getting rid of the plastic bags would save the $25-million from taxpayers, which is currently spent to clean plastic bags out of the waste stream.
AB 1998 will be voted on by the State Assembly Friday, June 4th. If passed and signed by Governor Schwarzenegger, the bag ban would go into effect January 1, 2012. Stores would then have to make reusable bags available for purchase.