California Legislators Want to Ban Plastic Bags. Period.
There they go again. A trio of state lawmakers in California have introduced legislation to ban the use of plastic bags altogether by grocery stores and other outlets that sell food. At a press conference in Sacramento, CA, last week, Sen. Catherine Blakespear, D-Encinitas; Sen. Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica; and Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, D-Orinda; said it was time to “expand California’s single-use plastic bags ban to combat the state’s persistent plastic pollution problem,” according to a press release posted on Blakespear’s website.
SB 1053 and AB 2236 would eliminate the use of plastic film bags that are currently sold at the checkout stands of most grocery stores. In 2014, California passed SB 270, which placed a statewide ban on thin plastic single-use bags, which was challenged in the courts but ultimately prevailed in a 2016 referendum. The law allowed shoppers to purchase a thicker plastic or paper bag for 10 cents, or to bring their own reusable bags.
“A decade ago, we were the first state to ban the thin throw-away bags, and two years ago we passed the first comprehensive single-use packaging law,” said Sen. Allen, who chairs the Senate Environmental Quality Committee. “We learned a lot in the years between those efforts, but since its conception, our bag ban policy has fallen behind those in other states. We can and must do better,” he is quoted as saying on Blakespear’s website.
The bill tightens standards for reusable bags and requires stores to provide 100% recycled paper bags or let consumers use reusable bags, said the press release.
If the bill passes the legislature, it will be up to Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign it into law. When he was mayor of San Francisco in 2007, he enacted the country’s first plastic bag ban.
The proposal is getting beaucoup love on X, but not everyone is buying it.
Sen. Brian Dahle, R-Bieber, also blasted the proposal in an appearance on WDBD Fox 40 in Jackson, MS. In a comment on X, he noted that “California has a massive budget deficit, soaring crime, highest in the nation utility rates, a housing crisis, and a failing educational system — we should be addressing those critical issues, not adding another item to ban in California.” During the interview on Fox 40, however, he added that there are aspects of the legislation he supports. “I love the use of paper bags,” he said, because the district he represents is heavily forested and greater use of paper bags would help thin the forest and reduce fire risks, and “be a job creator in my district.”