FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Mark Murray, Executive Director
Today in Vernon, Senator Alex Padilla (Pacoima), Senator Kevin de León (Los Angeles) and Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Huntington Park/Long Beach) were joined by environmental groups and business leaders to announce a new, coauthored bill to phase out single-use plastic grocery bags statewide.
"Senator Kevin De Leon has brought to the table a very innovative proposal that's aimed at transitioning existing California plastic bag manufacturers and jobs to making a California Reusable Bag that is made from recycled material and is recyclable--can't say that for a lot of the current generation of reusable bags made in China." said CAW Executive Director Mark Murray.
Previous efforts to enact a statewide policy on single-use plastic grocery bags (also referred to in the industry as plastic "T-shirt" bags) were stalled due to concerns over the impact of the phase out on jobs at the state’s two remaining plastic grocery bag manufacturers. This measure addresses the jobs issue by establishing financial incentives and green manufacturing standards to promote the use and in-state manufacturing of a new generation of reusable bags with the smallest environmental footprint.
"This measure will ensure that lightweight, litter-prone single-use plastic grocery bags are a thing of the past," said Murray. "We can now look ahead to a day when there will be no more plastic grocery bags in our neighborhoods, in our rivers, on our beaches, or stuck up in the trees and on fences.
SB 270 (Padilla and de León) will prohibit supermarkets and drug stores from distributing single-use plastic grocery bags; allow a 10 cent minimum charge for recycled content paper, reusable and (in some jurisdictions) compostable bags and place minimum standards on reusable bags.
SB 270 is expected to reduce plastic bag distribution by almost 6 billion bags, saving 300,000 tons in equivalent CO2 emissions. Production of plastic grocery bags generates more greenhouse gas emissions than an equivalent volume of recycled paper bags.
Californians spend millions (as much as $107 million) to manage plastic grocery bag litter annually. The Convention on Biological Diversity reports 663 species have been affected by plastic marine pollution through entanglement or ingestion and single-use plastic grocery bags are among the most commonly found items on coastal clean up days.
This bill is supported by a diverse group of stakeholders including grocers and retailers, California-based reusable bag manufacturers, environmentalists, waste haulers and recyclers, and local governments
Californians Against Waste is a non-profit organization dedicated to conserving resources, preventing pollution and protecting the environment through the development, promotion and implementation of waste reduction and recycling policies and programs.