No More Single Use Plastic Grocery Bags In California By 2016

No more single-use plastic grocery bags in California by 2016!

At one point, California stores were distributing more than 30 billion plastic shopping bags annually.
Over the last decade, we’ve cut that problem in half:

  • Many consumers are already voluntarily saying no to plastic and bringing their own reusable bags;
  • And to date, more than 90 cities and counties have an adopted local ordinance phasing out single-use plastic bags.

With today’s announcement of a new bill co-authored by Senator Alex Padilla and Senator Kevin de León, we begin the process of phasing out the 13 billion single-use plastic bags that continue to be generated annually.

The measure would ban single-use plastic grocery bags in grocery stores by July of 2015, and expand to cover other markets, convenience stores, and drug stores one year later. Similar to the local ordinances that have banned single-use plastic grocery bags, recycled paper and reusable bags would still be available for purchase (10 cents minimum).

With this proposal, 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.

It will also mean:

Less Litter and Waste—over 40,000 tons GONE!

(Less than 5% of single-use plastic grocery bags ever got recycled.)
Less Greenhouse Gas Emissions—300,000 tons of C02 Equivalent GONE! (And if you’re concerned about the footprint of your reusable bag or your recycled paper bag), know this:

  •  We have a Life Cycle Analysis that shows that after as few as 8 ‘reuses’ the reusable bags that will be made in this California factory, by these California workers, will have a smaller footprint than a single-use plastic bag.
  • And we also know, from the plastics industry’s own study, that the production of their single-use plastic bags generates more greenhouse gas emissions than an equivalent volume of paper bag.

This will mean lower costs for consumers and taxpayers:

  • The so-called ‘free’ grocery bag has been costing stores more than $250 million a year—a cost that has been added to the price of our groceries—that cost will be GONE!
  • Our friends at the Natural Resources Defense Council found that $11 per capita of our local taxes are paying for clean-up related to storm drain trash and marine debris. And the biggest culprit? Plastic bags make up as much as 25% of captured trash.

So this is a big deal.

But the details on this one are pretty important as well.

Senator Kevin de León 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 fully recyclable--can't say that for a lot of the current generation of reusable bags made in China!

Thank you Senator de León for your challenge, for your leadership and for your outside-the-box creativity to make this deal a reality.

And of course, Senator Padilla, thank you again, and again, and again, for your hard work, faith and tenacity on this issue.

Now let’s get it done.