California has become the first in the nation to have a statewide ban against single-use plastic bags. However, the battle over the issue is not over yet. Governor Jerry Brown signed the controversial law last Tuesday. It prohibits grocery stores and pharmacies from distributing single-use plastic bags after July 2015 and expands to include convenience stores and liquor stores the next year.
Under the new law, If you arrive at the retailer bag-less, you can buy a reusable bag or pay at least 10 cents for a paper bag. Yes, the kind of paper bag retailers having been using for eons, free of charge, to bag a customer’s purchases.
Over a 120 local governments in the state, including the city of Glendale, reportedly have ordinances on the books banning these plastic bags. “This bill is a step in the right direction – it reduces the torrent of plastic polluting our beaches, parks and even the vast ocean itself,” said Governor Brown in a news release.
State Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) authored the legislation and had high praise for the governor’s action: “I applaud Governor Brown for signing SB 270 into law. He continues to lead our state forward with a commitment to sustainability. A throw-away society is not sustainable. This new law will greatly reduce the flow of billions of single-use plastic bags that litter our communities and harm our environment each year. Moving from single-use plastic bags to reusable bags is common sense. Governor Brown’s signature reflects our commitment to protect the environment and reduce government costs,” said Senator Padilla in the release.
Meanwhile, the American Progressive Bag Alliance is fighting the statewide ban. Shortly after the governor signed the single-use plastic bag law, the APBA, a coalition of U.S. plastic bag manufacturers, issued a statement vowing to take the issue to the voters.
” The approval of SB 270 by the California legislature and Governor Jerry Brown could serve as a case study for what happens when greedy special interests and bad government collide in the policymaking process.
Fortunately, California’s constitution provides voters the opportunity to stop bad laws through the referendum process. Our research confirms that the vast majority of California voters are opposed to legislation that bans recyclable plastic bags and allows grocers to charge and keep fees on other bags. So we have taken the necessary steps to gather signatures and qualify a referendum to repeal SB 270 on the November 2016 ballot. Since state lawmakers failed their constituents by approving this terrible bill, we will take the question directly to the public and have great faith they will repeal it at the ballot box. Ultimately the voters will decide and, until then, California families – including thousands of our industry’s workers – will be protected from the implementation of this unprecedented scam.”
If the referendum gathers the required signatures and does qualified for the 2016 ballot — implementation of the law reportedly will be put on hold until voters decide its fate in that general election.