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Plastic Bag Legislation May Resurface In Sacramento

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Aired 1/28/10

Legislation to require California grocery and convenience stores to charge shoppers for paper or plastic bags did not make it out of committee this week. But environmental groups plan to push for legislation intended to reduce plastic litter in state waterways.

Legislation to require California grocery and convenience stores to charge shoppers for paper or plastic bags did not make it out of committee this week. But environmental groups plan to continue pushing for legislation intended to reduce plastic litter in state waterways.

Assembly Bills 68 and 87 would have required shoppers to pay 25 cents per single-use carry-out bag to reduce waste, promote reusable bags and decrease the volume of plastic bags that litter waterways and pose a danger to wildlife.

The fee would have been used to pay for cleanup, litter-reduction campaigns and donations of reusable bags throughout California.

Dan Jacobson with Environment California said the 25-cent fee proposal might have been too ambitious.

"I know that the legislators who sponsored the bill are really committed to helping to solve this problem," said Jacobson. "I'm sure we're going to go back to the drawing board a little bit and figure out if a lesser fee is more amenable to the Assembly."

In San Diego County, the city of Encinitas is hosting a community forum about plastic bags on Wednesday, February 3.

The city's environmental advisory commission wants to find out if residents would support a fee on single-use plastic bags or an ordinance to ban the bags at grocery stores.

Jacobson said cities and towns throughout California are passing ordinances, including bans on plastic bags, to reduce marine litter.

He said the patchwork of local ordinances will eventually lead to a statewide proposal.

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