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Bill To Ban Single-Use Plastic Bags Passes State Assembly Committee

— A bill (AB 1998) that would enact a statewide plastic-bag ban passed out of a California State Assembly committee Friday.

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

Angela Howe with the Surfrider Foundation says the legislation is expected to be taken up by full Assembly Friday, June 4.

If passed and signed into law by the governor, AB 1998 would (as of January 1, 2012) prohibit supermarkets, larger pharmacies and convenience stores from distributing single-use bags made of plastic, paper or other materials and require the retailer to offer for sale reusable bags.

The new Department of Recycling and Resource Recovery would administer and enforce AB 1998 and submit a report to the California Legislature by January 1, 2015, on the effectiveness of the bill.

In an effort to gain support from trade associations for large grocers and retailers, AB 1998 was recently amended to include language that would preempt cities and counties from passing any local bans.

Proponents of the bill reluctantly agreed to the amendment since it appeared that Assembly leaders would not move the bill to the floor without the support of large grocers and retailers.

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