California lawmakers give final approval to plastic bag ban

By Gayle S. Putrich
Staff Reporter

By Jeremy Carroll
Assistant Managing Editor

Published: August 30, 2014 6:00 am ET
Updated: September 3, 2014 10:41 am ET

Alex Padilla

Related to this story

Topics Sustainability Public Policy Film & Sheet United States
Companies & Associations

A statewide ban on single-use plastic bags in California is just a signature away.

The California Senate passed Senate Bill 270 22-15 late in the evening on the body's last day in session on Aug. 29. The Assembly passed the bill a day earlier 44-29. The measure was written by Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacioma).

Gov. Jerry Brown (D) is expected to sign the bill into law, which will be the first of its kind in the country.

Under the measure, single-use plastic bags will be barred from California retailers, including grocery stores, convenience stores and drug stores, as of July 1, 2015. Customers will be able to buy paper bags for 10 cents each, or bring their own bags and not be charged. The bill has a couple of exceptions, including one for produce at stores.

Various forms of the bill have been in front of the California legislature over the last 10 years, always being defeated for one reason or another. Last year, the bill came three votes shy of passage.

An initial Assembly vote faltered earlier when a key labor group representing grocery store workers, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), pulled its support and cried foul on the minimum 10-cent fee retailers would be able to charge for paper or reusable bags, which was added by amendment late in the legislative process.

Both Republicans and Democrats in the Assembly said the fee would burden consumers in the hour-long debate before the vote, but the seven Democrats who voted no or abstained earlier in the week swung back to the “aye” column after the UFCW reinstated its support for the bill.

One change to the bill in the three days between votes, according to a Padilla staffer, included taking what was initially a $2 million grant pool within California’s recycling funds for plastic bag makers would be able to apply for grants to retrain workers or reorganize operations to make bags that would meet the new state-wide requirements in the bill and turning it instead into a loan program.

The original program was included as a way to woo legislators who opposed version of the bill from previous year on the grounds that the bill and its tax would be a job killer.  Plastic and paper bag manufacturers still opposed the legislation, with the American Progressive Bag Alliance (APBA) launching a major advertising and lobbying blitz against the bill in the weeks before the vote.

"It's disappointing that members of the Assembly voted to advance a bill that threatens 2,000 California manufacturing jobs, hurts consumers and puts billions of dollars into the pockets of grocers -- without providing any benefit to the environment," said Lee Califf, executive director of APBA, in a statement between the Assembly and Senate votes.

There are 123 municipal and county bag bans are already in effect across California, impacting some 10 million consumers there, according to Californians Against Waste (CAW), one of the bill’s biggest supporters.

“California leads the way to end plastic bags," Mark Murray, CAW executive director, said on Twitter after the final vote was taken. "Forty years ago there were no plastic bags grocery bags; four years from now, we'll forget there ever were.”

Similar state-wide bans were considered in Washington state and Massachusetts earlier this year but did not pass. Although not a statewide ban, all five counties in Hawaii outlaw single-use plastic bags at retail stores.


Comments

California lawmakers give final approval to plastic bag ban

By Gayle S. Putrich
Staff Reporter

By Jeremy Carroll
Assistant Managing Editor

Published: August 30, 2014 6:00 am ET
Updated: September 3, 2014 10:41 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Plastics recycling is in full swing behind the scenes at NPE 2015

March 26, 2015 11:00 am ET

Paul Benvenuti walks the NPE 2015 show floor in Orlando with purpose. Keep up or be left behind, because this man has a job to do this week, and he's ...    More

Image

NPE nudges attendees to recycle

March 24, 2015 1:47 pm ET

A public awareness campaign developed by Keep America Beautiful is receiving prominent display at NPE 2015 as part of the show's overall effort to...    More

Image

SPI launching recycling summit

March 23, 2015 5:10 pm ET

The Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. announced Monday at NPE 2015 that the plastics trade association will return to Orlando in 2016 for a brand ...    More

Image

Designing a new image for plastics and recycling

March 23, 2015 2:36 pm ET

New York has its fashion week, and so does Paris and Milan. But they're no competition for Orlando this week as student designers who helped kick off ...    More

Image

DuPont exec: Still lots of lightweighting needed in the auto industry

March 23, 2015 6:00 am ET

In that role, Jeffrey Sternberg is responsible for bringing the breadth of DuPont advanced materials — as well as renewably sourced materials an...    More

Market Reports

Flexible Packaging Trends in North America

North America represents about 30 percent of the global consumption of flexible packaging. Annual growth in this region is forecast at 4 percent during the next 5 years.

For more insight on growth opportunities, drivers of growth and the outlook for 2015, download this report.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 billion plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our analysts provide insight on business trends, foreign investment, top end markets and plastics processing activity. The report also provides important data on exports, production, employment and value of plastics products manufactured.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events