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Supporters Hope To Enact Statewide Plastic Bag Ban

Supporters of a ban on single use plastic bags rallied in San Diego with the hope of pushing their effort statewide.

Supporters of a ban on single use plastic bags rallied in San Diego with the hope of pushing their effort statewide.

— Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Pacoima, was in San Diego Thursday, to rally support for his effort to ban single use disposable shopping bags.

Although his district is in Los Angeles, Padilla is hoping to enact a plastic bag ban statewide.

"There's nearly 13 billion single use plastic bags that are distributed when we're shopping. That's nearly 400 bags for every man, woman, and child in the state of California," said Padilla. "And according to our state experts, less than three percent of those bags are recycled."

Legislative efforts to ban the bags have already failed twice, thanks in large part to a campaign bankrolled by the American Chemistry Council.

The legislative failure prompted nearly 80 municipalities to pass local bans, including one in Solana Beach. That community is the only one in San Diego County to implement a single use plastic bag ban.

The state's grocers want to eliminate the patchwork system of local ordinances and replace them with one statewide rule.

"It is tough for customers, it is tough for our members," said Sarah Paulson Sheehy of the California Grocers Association. "You could literally have a store on one side of the street that is under a carryout bag ordinance and a store on another side of the street is not. That confuses everybody."

Clean water advocates say the time for the ban has finally come.

"We've tolerated their impacts to marine life," said Jill Witkowski, San Diego Coastkeeper. "We've tolerated the blight on our beaches. Our roadsides, our parks and our communities. Not anymore. There's no need to."

Padilla's bag ban bill comes up for another vote in December.

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