Senator Alex Padilla introduced SB 405, legislation to phase out plastic bags statewide, at a press conference today. The event, held at the Capitol Building, included representatives from business and environmental groups who spoke in support of the bill.
Senator Padilla told attendees "it’s time for a statewide solution" to the problem of plastic bag waste, noting that about 380 single-use plastic bags are used by each man, woman and child in California annually. Less than five percent of those bags are actually recycled and once they are littered or blown from trash cans by the wind, they cause harm to wildlife like birds and sea turtles.
CAW Executive Director Mark Murray explained that the problem isn't that people intentionally litter plastic bags-it's that their lightweight construction makes them easily airborne, even if they've been properly disposed. Recycling hasn’t proven effective as the bags cause machinery at recycling centers to jam, costing time and money to repair.
"The product doesn’t lend itself to a waste management solution," said Murray, who noted that some plastic bag manufacturers have already re-tooled in order to start producing reusable bags.
Sacramento Council Member Kevin McCarty spoke in favor of SB 405, citing cleanup costs to local government and a need for environmental responsibility.
Ronald Fong, California Grocers Association President said grocers are looking for "consistency and predictability" in single-use plastic bag legislation, as well as competitive fairness.
Watch the press event here.
SB 405 will be heard in the Senate Environmental Quality Committee on Wednesday, April 17, at 9:30 a.m.
You can watch the hearings online here.
Take Action! Send a support letter to your Senator telling him or her you support SB 405 banning single-use plastic bags statewide.