California Governor Signs Statewide Ban Of Plastic Bags

How many of you, faithful readers, have a closet full of reusable bags that without fail you forget each time you venture to the grocery store? Well if you live in California you might want to put a sticky note on the door reminding you to grab your bags because the state officially became the first in the nation to outlaw single-use plastic bags.

The Sacramento Bee reports that California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law today a bill that will phase out plastic bags at grocery stores and other retailers.

Under the new law, consumers will have to bring their own reusable bag, purchase a reusable bag from the retailer or pay at least ten cents for a paper bag or a multi-use plastic carrier that meets state durability standards.

Retailers that don’t discontinue the use of single-use plastic bags could face local government fines of up to $5,000.

Tuesday’s historic signing by Brown came after years of contentious fighting between lawmakers, retailers as well as consumer and environmental groups. Back in 2010, California lawmakers rejected a bid to ban the bags.

Since then, a number of California cities have enacted their own bans on the bags. The movement to phase out the bags has been sweeping the U.S. with cities such as Portland and Chicago signing their own laws.

While the Governor’s signature probably hasn’t had much time to dry on the new bill, opponents have already began planning their repeal efforts.

Shortly after Tuesday’s bill signing, American Progressive Bag Alliance vowed to begin efforts to overturn the law through a referendum on the 2016 ballot.

“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,” a release from the organization said.

The group called the bill “a back room deal between the grocers and union bosses to scam California consumers out of billions of dollars without providing any public benefit – all under the guise of environmentalism.”

Still, officials and retailers who have already begun adhering to the ban said they have had few issues.

The manager at a local grocery store in Davis, which began adopting the ban this summer, tells the Sacramento Bee that the transition has been seamless.

Additionally, officials with the San Francisco Department of the Environment say the city has not levied a single fine against retailers, crediting a campaign to educate and prepare consumers about the ban.

California plastic bag ban signed, setting off sweeping changes [The Sacramento Bee]

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