Sep 1 - Press Release: Plastic Bag Ban AB 1998 Fails Passage

Press Release


Contact: Bryan Early / 916-443-5422 / /

The Plastic Bag Ban Bill, AB 1998 by Assemblymember Julia Brownley, failed passage last night in the State Senate with a 14-21 vote. AB 1998 would have banned the estimated 19 billion plastic bags that are distributed annually at retail outlets in California and would have required retailers to sell recycled content paper bags for their actual average cost, should they chose to use them. Plastic litter pollution is a growing environmental problem that is extremely costly for local governments, which are required to clean up plastic litter.

We are disappointed in the Senate’s failure to adopt AB 1998, which was adopted earlier this year by the State Assembly. However, from our extensive discussions with legislative offices, it is clear that a majority of legislators agree with the public that it’s time to phase-out single-use grocery bags in California.

Where AB 1998 fell short was in the treatment of recycled-content single-use paper bags. Senators who supported a ban on plastic bags were divided on the question of whether (or what) public policy was needed to discourage paper bag use. Some favored a fee, some favored requiring charging actual cost, some favored a ban and some favored no policy at all.

With the end of the legislative session, the campaign now shifts back to the local level, where dozens of cities and counties stand poised to ban plastic grocery bags in their communities. Californians Against Waste will advocate tirelessly at the local level to enact ordinances that ban plastic bags and phase-out wasteful single-use bag distribution.

Californians Against Waste will also work to counter the lies the plastics industry used in a multi-million dollar state-wide advertising campaign to confuse consumers about AB 1998. We continue to educate the public that phasing-out single-use bags through an approach similar to AB 1998 would (adapting the plastic industry's own analyses) reduce greenhouse gas emissions in California by over 350,000 metric tons annually.

Californians Against Waste would like to thank Assemblymember Julia Brownley for her efforts on AB 1998.

Mark Murray

Executive Director

Californians Against Waste