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California bill to ban plastic bags advances

Posted: May 14, 2014 10:27 p.m.
Updated: May 14, 2014 10:27 p.m.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A bill to make California the first in the nation to impose a statewide ban on plastic bags at certain retailers passed a key legislative committee on Wednesday, but the legislation faces staunch opposition from bag manufacturers working to stem a flood of local bans meant to end clutter in landfills and beaches.

Senate Bill 270 passed the Assembly's Natural Resources Committee on a 5-3 vote following the failure of similar bans on single-use grocery bags in recent years. The latest legislation won support from grocers for including a 10-cent fee on paper bags and from a handful of local plastic bag makers for including $2 million for worker training and assistance to shift to production of reusable bags.

"It will prove that having a greener economy and cleaner environment is not mutually exclusive with the preservation of jobs," said state Sen. Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, a bill co-author along with Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles.

California, Massachusetts and Washington have considered statewide plastic bag bans this year to protect water and parks from a buildup of litter, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. Those efforts follow the lead of municipalities, including San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Jose, that have such bans in place. Bill supporters say one statewide prohibition on single-use bags and one set of standards for reusable bags would make it easier for California businesses to follow the law.

A national coalition of plastic bag manufacturers has taken its fight to television, airing ads against the legislation. The group calls it a money grab by grocers and says it threatens 2,000 jobs in the state.

"The last thing I ever expected was for our product to become such a politically charged issue and one that would lead to public policy creating millions of dollars of profit from consumers and transferring that profit to retailers," Cathy Browne, general manager of Los Angeles-area plastic bag maker Crown Poly, told lawmakers.

She said the $2 million in assistance for manufacturers wouldn't replace even a single production line for her company alone.

Manufacturers and some grocers have pushed for states to adopt a plastic bag recycling program at stores instead of a ban, as California did in 2006.

The Associated Press found the state wasn't tracking how many bags were recycled even as stores filed annual reports. The state's last review of the data, in 2009, found a 3 percent recycling rate, up 1 percentage point from the previous year.

The bill heads next to the Assembly Appropriations Committee and must pass both chambers of the Legislature by the end of August.

If signed into law, the ban would take effect in 2015 for large retailers and grocery stores and apply to pharmacies and liquor stores the next year.


Vtown123: Posted: May 15, 2014 12:20 a.m.


bobforte: Posted: May 15, 2014 6:46 a.m.

I guess this is more important than the illegals living here, the state running out of water, large companies moving to Texas, etc.

Vtown123: Posted: May 15, 2014 7:40 a.m.

More important? No...but it is something that needs to be addressed.

17trillion: Posted: May 15, 2014 7:47 a.m.

Oh yes, this is the issue of the century. Californians have got to be the stupidest people on the planet for allowing this nonsense. However, they voted for these fools so this is what passes for advancement of society in this state. I hate this state!

Rick54: Posted: May 15, 2014 8:34 a.m.

17trillion: Who's forcing you to stay here. If I was as unhappy as you, I'd move to another state.

michael: Posted: May 15, 2014 8:47 a.m.

This is the best they can do with all the problems that need solving. This and dog park development needs to be at the bottom of the list.

17trillion: Posted: May 15, 2014 9:26 a.m.

Family considerations Rick. I'm not actually an unhappy person but I'm very unhappy with the direction of this once great state where I was born and raised. Rest assured in a few short year I will be vacating this state and it's idiocy.

A better question might be, why aren't you and so many others just as disillusioned about the condition of this state? We have the highest taxes, but we have no money. Our roads are crumbling, businesses and the middle class are leaving, are schools are crap, and we elect politicians who deal with these issues by passing laws concerning plastic bags. I love the weather, I hate everything else!

17trillion: Posted: May 15, 2014 9:49 a.m.

Business people think CA is the worst in the nation, again! There are two types of reactions to this. One, this is bad news because companies tend to employ people, pay taxes, and contribute to the overall economy. The second and far more popular reactions, at least by the standards zealots in this state employ, is that it's great news because companies and the people that run them are evil. We loath businesses and rejoice when they leave.

EgbertSouse4U: Posted: May 15, 2014 10:39 a.m.

A recycling program is a much better solution than a complete ban. One-use plastic bags are way more sanitary than re-using canvas bags over and over.

tpaul: Posted: May 15, 2014 10:40 a.m.

I am going to save my plastic bags and bring them BACK to the grocery store for them to bag my groceries. Old Skool Baby

Unreal: Posted: May 15, 2014 11:43 a.m.

Since I save and use the plastic bags for trash liners and bagging up cat waste I will now have to buy plastic bags for this.

Unreal: Posted: May 15, 2014 11:56 a.m.

California may have issues but it is still pretty good in comparison.

Up north you are buried in snow (and no prop 13) and many states in the NE have liberal leaders too. In the south it is HUMID and have you seen the stories from Florida? You want to live there? What about Louisiana? A ton of toxic issues the southern states are living with explains some of the people I have spoken to in business calls. Brain damage. Nevada, just a bunch of desert and in Vegas a terrible crime and drug area. Middle America? OK but who can stand wheat fields as far as the eye can see. Don't forget the tornados. Texas is pretty much desert too but with flooding on top of that.

I'll stay in the Golden State and just keep complaining. Maybe the other citizens of the other states won't figure out how much better we are and come here.

oldman: Posted: May 15, 2014 12:02 p.m.

Instead of a ban how about a 10 cent per bag "deposit"? Return the bag, get your dime.

17trillion: Posted: May 15, 2014 12:19 p.m.


How about northern Nevada? Eastern Arizona? How about a home on a lake in North Carolina or Tennessee on an acre for 300 grand? There are some very nice spots in Texas, but I concede you're right that no place can match our weather. However, when I see the deterioration of this state and the fact that I could probably save $20,000.00 if not more by living in another state, not blue states though, it makes the weather a little less important. Besides, the weather in Santa Clarita for the 3-4 summer months is no bargain.

Unreal: Posted: May 15, 2014 12:50 p.m.

I was thinking of Northern Nevada. That is a maybe. I am a little afraid the lakes in Tennessee will ignite from all the toxins in that state or maybe something like a scene out of Lake Placid.

North Carolina is a little better but I still prefer California.

RCV: Posted: May 15, 2014 1:13 p.m.

Just one more freedom lost , We will have to buy heavier bags to take
there place , or will they outlaw them too , this state has some big problems,
this is not one , If green people want paper bags, that's great , but don't
push your religion on me , Lets see a new car in SCV ,,,, soon it
will be illegal to wash your own car , Politicians pass laws and aline
them self to profit from the law

missyJk: Posted: May 15, 2014 1:53 p.m.

i reuse the plastic bags..doggie doo doo picker uppers...wrap leaky foods into the garbage..i think its ludicrous to talk us all into using plastic because of the trees and than back to paper but PAY for it...the reuseable bags are ok for things that dont leak they are unsanitary to use for meat or leaky stuff unless you want us to waste water to wash them every time? i can see the plastic bags could harm water ways than back to paper but DONT charge us..sneaky taxes

lars1: Posted: May 15, 2014 2:32 p.m.

they are getting rid of the plastic bags, and replacing them with GIANT PLASTIC BAGS along the freeways/

AndyG: Posted: May 15, 2014 3:39 p.m.

Why ban plastic grocery bags and not the rolls of plastic bags in the produce and meat departments? They're made of the same material. And why am I allowed to buy a box of Hefty trash bags or Ziploc sandwich bags, yet be forced to buy a paper bag to put them in at checkout?

The vast majority of plastic bags are reused and/or recycled. I'll bet the same can't be said for disposable diapers, but no California lawmaker would ever touch that one.

SReilly12: Posted: May 15, 2014 4:26 p.m.

AndyG - Great question!!!

bobforte: Posted: May 15, 2014 5:22 p.m.

Doesn't matter anyways. Most stores in L.A. City right now have come up with new plastic bags that are not part of the ban. They are made from even thicker material which is GREAT!!!!!! They are considered reusable so the city can't ban them.

Anyone want to know what a plastic bag ban does? Just ask the management at the Stevenson Ranch WalMart and the Ralphs.

Even the Albertson's on Copperhill, which is in the county, has started giving out paper bags for free. They can't handle the loss of business. But I guess to satisfy a few, many companies have to suffer.

src: Posted: May 16, 2014 8:35 a.m.

Good point Bob. I stopped shopping at the stores effected by the bag ban.

We reuse them for trash bags, doggie doo bags, kitty litter, defrosting food in the fridge I don't want to leak everywhere, etc.

Maybe Sacramento should be worrying about stemming the outflow of people and business to other states and trying to attract some revenue streams to get this state back in the black.

Unreal: Posted: May 16, 2014 8:56 a.m.

As long as I get paper bags for free I am fine. I love TRADER JOES with the handles and reuse them for a lot of things. I always forget to bring my TRADER JOES reusable bag with me.

I guess I can use smaller paper bags for trash liners and the produce bags for cat litter. If not I will have to buy them. There are some pretty cheap bags (Lavendar scented too) that I can buy in a huge roll.

bobforte: Posted: May 16, 2014 10:31 a.m.

Why Andy?!? Because you live in California. :>)

And it will only get worse when Jerry is re-elected for another 4 years.

hopeful: Posted: May 16, 2014 8:15 p.m.

17trillion wrote: "How about northern Nevada? Eastern Arizona? How about a home on a lake in North Carolina or Tennessee on an acre for 300 grand?"

One day, I would love to move permanently to either Flagstaff or Prescott, Arizona!

AndyG: Posted: May 18, 2014 12:41 p.m.

We'll have to get our bags the same way we get our ammo and gun parts...out of state.

$25 for 1000 grocery bags with free shipping on eBay. Stock up before our lawmakers ban their importation. That can't be far off.

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