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HomeGeneralCalifornia Moves to Ban Reusable Grocery Bags

California Moves to Ban Reusable Grocery Bags

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A picture of reusable plastic bags
Source: Pinterest

In recent developments, the California state legislature has passed a controversial bill. The bill is expected to heavily control the usage of all plastic bags, regardless of their legal status as reusable. Both chambers of the state legislature have examined and passed the bill.

In 2014, the legislative arm of the California government passed a law requiring the state to ban the use of plastic bags. The law allowed retailers to use recyclable plastic bags for their customers despite the ban.

However, the bill didn’t provide the necessary results the state had hoped for. 231,000 tons of plastic bags were disposed of as garbage in 2021, according to the California Public Interest Research Group. Consequently, the state had to find another solution to the waste problem.

Originally, the bills were introduced to both chambers separately, despite their similarities and purposes. Bill AB 2236 was introduced to the state assembly, while Bill SB 1058 was introduced to the state senate. Eventually, both bills were passed on Wednesday, May 21, 2024. AB 2236 was voted 51-7 in favor of and SB 1053 was voted 31-7.

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Although both bills have been passed by their respective houses, there is a need for the other house to vote on them. Consequently, any bill that gets passed by in its second voting will be signed into law by the state Governor Newsom. However, even if passed and signed, the bill will not be implemented until January 1, 2026.

The legislation will ban the usage of all plastic bags, either recyclable or not, making it illegal for retailers to purchase or sell them. The legislation is intended to direct consumers toward the use of paper bags. However, the legislation makes certain provisions for the use of paper bags. Customers must pay a minimum fee of 10 cents for each bag if the bag contains at least 50% recyclable materials.

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Jenn Engstrom, the director of California Public Interest Research Group, released an official statement. Engstrom had responded with joy to the new legislation, as she claimed the former law was ineffective. She said that some plastic bags used by certain organizations made the 2014 bill ineffective and defeated its purpose.

Consequently, those bags result in waste that damage and destroy the environment, she said. She added that the agency applaud this new effort and hope it brings the desired result.

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One of the main voices behind bill SB 1053 is Democratic state senator, Catherine Blakespear. Blakespear stated that it was sad that California plastic bag garbage has only increased since 2014. She said that since the previous ban didn’t improve the situation, it was time to introduce new legislation for better results.

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According to a recently released report, there are 133 pieces of plastic garbage for every mile in Lake Tahoe, which is located on the boundary between California and Nevada. With an estimated five trillion users each year, single-use plastic bags are still quite popular worldwide.

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