California Bans the Bag

California Bans the Bag
Reuse it or lose it via StudioPepeYcarol/Flickr

The single-use plastic bag will go the way of the iPod and become extinct under a statewide law signed today by Gov. Jerry Brown. And thus, California becomes the first state in the nation to ban the bag.

As you know, we already banned such plastic bags both in the city and county of Los Angeles, so we're used to driving around town with a stack of paper bags in our trunks. The legislation by L.A. area state Sens. Alex Padilla, Kevin de Leon and Ricardo Lara will basically apply our ban to the rest of California.

Well, not just yet:

The bill, SB 270, doesn't take effect until July. 

It mirrors local regulations in that you must either BYO bags to grocery markets, convenience stores and pharmacies or pay 10 cents for a recycled-paper bag or likely even more for a reusable tote.

See also: Is L.A.'s Plastic Bag Ban a New Way For Stores to Charge You More?

"A throw-away society is not sustainable," legislator Padilla said.

The local environmental group Heal the Bay lobbied for the law for seven years, noting that Californians use 13 billion plastic bags a year that mostly end up at our landfills, waterways and beaches. 

California Bans the Bag
GirlyGeekdom/Flickr

The organization says that we recycled less than 5 percent of these single-use plastic bags, which cost cities $25 million a year to clean up (or try to clean up).

Sarah Sikich, Heal the Bay’s coastal resources director, says:

For the small price of giving up a little convenience, we get the benefits of protected aquatic life, cleaner neighborhoods, and healthier rivers and coastal waters.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.


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