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plastic bags

Calif. Approves Plastic Bag Ban

plastic bagsA bill to ban single-use plastic bags in California now heads to the governor’s desk, following the passage of the bill in both houses of the state legislature.

The California senate voted to approve the ban, Senate Bill 270, by a 22-15 vote on Friday.

The bill, once signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, will institute a plastic bag ban beginning in 2015 for grocery store carry-out bags and create a mandatory minimum 10-cent fee for recycled paper, reusable plastic and compostable bags. The measure will also provide financial incentives for worker retraining and company retooling.

Specifically, SB 270 will:

  • Ramp up the use of recycled content for reusable plastic bags. In 2016, bags will be required to have 20 percent recycled content and in 2020 be made of 40 percent recycled content.
  • Support recycling of agriculture plastic film, which is currently sent to landfills.
  • Require large grocery store chains to take back used bags for continued recycling.
  • Require third-party certification of reusable plastic bags to ensure compliance with bag standards, which bill authors say will support California manufacturing.

Earlier this year the California Grocers Association, along with other business, labor and environmental groups, voiced its support for the plastic bag ban because the bill addresses concerns about potential job loses at bag-manufacturing facilities — a key reason a similar proposal fell short by three votes last year in the state senate.

Los Angeles, along with about 100 other cities and counties in California, have already banned single-use plastic bags.

Photo Credit: plastic bags via Shutterstock

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