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Plastic Bag Bill Ban Moves Ahead In Sacramento

Editor's note: In our original story, we stated that the proposed law would ban paper bags. If the bill is passed, recycled paper bags would be available for a small price.


Aired 6/1/10

A bill being considered by the California State Assembly Friday would enact a statewide ban on plastic and paper bags at grocery stores.

— A bill being considered by the California State Assembly Friday would enact a statewide ban on plastic bags at grocery stores.

The wind blows a plastic bag around the beach near the Manhattan Beach Pier A...
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Above: The wind blows a plastic bag around the beach near the Manhattan Beach Pier August 21, 2008 in Manhattan Beach, California.

If passed and signed into law by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the legislation would prohibit supermarkets and convenience stores from distributing plastic bags. Recycled paper bags would be available for a reasonable price.

The law would go into effect January 1, 2012.

It also requires retailers to offer reusable bags for sale.

Angela Howe is with the Surfrider Foundation. She said volunteers collected 71,000 plastic bags from state waterways during last year's international coastal cleanup day.

"Plastic bags are an eyesore," said Howe. "The plastic pollution affects 267 species every year and kills or injures 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals every year."

Howe said several California communities, including San Francisco, already have similar bans in place.

But Howe said a statewide ban would provide a consistent standard.

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Avatar for user 'carbonates'

carbonates | June 1, 2010 at 9:15 a.m. ― 6 years, 9 months ago

Another dumb idea from Sacramento and mis-guided environmentalists who are determined to determine societal behavior with regulations. There will be huge unintended consequences, and the new problem I predict is that heavy plastic "reusable" bags will become the new environmental problem. Only last week I pulled about 5 heavy "reusable bags" out of the dumpster where I live. These heavy synthetic bags use more resources and take decades longer to degrade. Apparently these geniuses have not thought about the impact that heavier synthetic bags, and even cotton bags (which have a huge environmental impact from the agricultural practices associated with cotton) will have on the environment. This will be a step backward for the environment.

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Avatar for user 'Honadle'

Honadle | June 1, 2010 at 10:11 a.m. ― 6 years, 9 months ago

Carbonates has got it all wrong. If people PAY for reuseable bags, how apt are they to just toss them in the trash?

Not likely.

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Avatar for user 'brixsy'

brixsy | June 1, 2010 at 10:20 a.m. ― 6 years, 9 months ago

Honadle is completely right. Reusable bags in most cases are made of of waste by-products or recycled material, so the impact is negated.

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Avatar for user 'LGMike'

LGMike | June 1, 2010 at 10:40 a.m. ― 6 years, 9 months ago

Anything that Surfrider wants, I am against. They have cost the California economy and untold Millions of Dollars. Its very interesting that like most enviornmental groups, all they are interested in is wheres the money.
FACT: Create a problem and file a lawsuit to get the problem corrected.

SETTLE OUT OF COURT: give them $$$$ and all of a sudden the problem doesn't exist.

Every grocery store that I have been in offers "reusable" bags, which last maybe 5-6 times or is just plain to much of a pain in the "B***" to carry around.
And we all know, any "regulation or law " comming out of Sacramento is only in it for the Money. I would bet NO Sacramento official ever has to carry their own bags, let alone acually going shopping.

Get REAL: learn how to live within a budget, stop spending what you don't have . Then you can ask the people if this is a "problem" or needs addressing.

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Avatar for user 'DRH5252'

DRH5252 | June 1, 2010 at 12:18 p.m. ― 6 years, 9 months ago

I've been using reusable bags for nearly 2 years....the same ones. They don't last only a few times...use them and you'll see for yourself. It is just not necessary to have one time use products that are going to be thrown away immediately. Society will get used to it just like we got used to no smoking in restaurants and bars. This is just a new way to do things and I can't wait until it passes.

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Avatar for user 'bereKPBS'

bereKPBS | June 1, 2010 at 2:25 p.m. ― 6 years, 9 months ago

I think is a great idea to ban plastic bags, Europeans have done it, why can't we? I agree that if you have to pay for the re-usable bags, you are more likely to keep them. I been using re-usable bags for about 1 year now... It took me a while to not forget the bags in the trunk of the car, or to carry them to the store, but I trained myself, whenever I realized I had forgotten the bag in the car, I asked a person at the grocery store to keep an eye on my groceries, and went and grab the bag... by now, I don't leave the car nor the house without a bag, it's second nature now! We Americans have become TOO LAZY and easy to convenience to our own cost, to the cost of our health, and environment, it's about time to be less lazy, go back to the car for the bag, walk a little further and finish with all that instant satisfaction and NOT thinking of the future ahead of us! I say ban the bags and ban the too complex packaging too!

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Avatar for user 'BigLefty'

BigLefty | June 7, 2010 at 11:13 a.m. ― 6 years, 8 months ago

If you get reusable bags with longer straps, they double as a lightweight backpack. I prefer my cool-cotton shopping bags - sacks - over my daypack for light loads. Up to a 12-pack is usually OK.

Tommy says that we need the disposable plastic bags for trash. Why not just use a reusable plastic trash can with a wastepaper liner, and scrub it once in a while with the toilet brush?

Unbagged dusty media in the trash is a little problematic, but can be neutralized with a sprinkle of water.

We use way too much disposable stuff. It's easy to remember your shopping bags.

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Avatar for user 'danieland'

danieland | June 19, 2012 at 8:28 p.m. ― 4 years, 8 months ago

The ban in plastic bags was definitely a welcomed move by environmental groups and supporters who are keen on the benefit to the environment. To further help the supermarkets and retailers who have banned plastic bags, the government can also provide subsidies to reusable bags or tax incentives to shops who provide them. -

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