Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Crucial Vote Nears For Plastic Bag Ban In California

Crucial Vote Nears On Plastic Bag Ban
Crucial Vote Nears On Plastic Bag Ban

A push to ban single-use plastic bags at grocery stores and large retailers across California comes up for a crucial vote Thursday – and there’s been heavy lobbying from both sides on a bill that seeks to change your behavior when you shop.

Some bills at the state Capitol don’t have much impact on your daily life. But we all need groceries. That’s why plastic bag manufacturers are running TV ads opposing a statewide ban on their product.

The manufacturers argue the bill would eliminate 2,000 jobs and allow grocers to keep all the paper bag fee revenues for themselves.

“What really bothers me is that the grocers are just grabbing cash. There’s no benefit to the state, the city, the county, anywhere,” said Rashied Yuille, who works at one of the factories.

Democratic state Senator Alex Padilla disputes the criticism. He points to more than 100 California cities and counties that already have plastic bag bans in place – covering a third of the state’s population.

“What we’ve seen in practice is a tremendous drop in not just the plastic bags that we’re phasing out but even the paper bags that are available for purchase – and most consumers easily transitioning to the use of the reusable bags, which is of course the ultimate solution,” Padilla says.

Solana Beach has had a ban on plastic bags for grocers and food vendors since August 2012 and for all other stores since November 2012.

The measure would grandfather in the existing local ordinances. It would also exempt low-income Californians on public assistance from having to pay the paper bag fee.