Plastic Bag Ban: California First State To Outlaw Plastic Grocery Bags

The question “Paper or plastic?” will soon be extinct in California as the state became the first in the nation to institute a full ban on plastic grovery bags.

On Friday the state’s legislature voted to ban the bags, concluding a nearly two-year debate on the issue. The bill now goes to Democratic governor Jerry Brown, who indicted that he plans to sign the measure into law.

“I probably will sign it, yes,” Brown said during a televised debate with Republican challenger Neel Kashkari. ” In fact, I’ll tell you why I’m going to sign it …. There are about 50 cities with their own plastic bag ban, and that’s causing a lot of confusion.”

Brown said that grocers actually supported reasonable ban.

“This is a compromise,” Brown said. “It’s taking into account the needs of the environment, and the needs of the economy and the needs of the grocers.”

Kashkari expressed opposition to the plastic bag ban, saying there was “no chance would I sign” the bill if he were governor.

State Senator Alex Padilla, who sponsored the bill, said the plastic bag ban will help preserve the state’s natural beauty.

“Single-use plastic bags not only litter our beaches, but also our mountains, our deserts, and our rivers, streams and lakes,” Padilla says.

The California plastic bag ban now forbids grocery stores from giving single-use bags to customers. There are already 115 counties and cities that have instituted their own plastic bag bans, the San Jose Mercury News found.

In Sonoma County, where a plastic bag ban was passed in February, the measure is seen as a step toward environmental protection.

“It’s a serious litter issue. You don’t have to go too far to see the effects of plastic bags,” said Henry Mikus is the executive director of the Sonoma County Waste Management Agency. “They’re all over our creeks, in our watersheds. It’s an environmental issue.”

The California plastic bag ban would go into effect in 2015.