California Assembly passed a bill Wednesday, by a vote of 41-27, to prohibit grocery stores from offering plastic bags beginning in Jan. 2012. The ban would also extend to drugstores and convenience stores in July 2013.
This measure will force consumers to have to carry their purchases in reusable bags or pay at least 5 cents for paper bags made of partially recycled material.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger supports the bill, which still needs to pass the state Senate, reported the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Oakland and San Francisco have already banned plastic bags in area markets and Washington, D.C. now requires grocery stores to charge patrons five cents for disposable bags. However, no state has yet to muster enough support to pass such a ban despite a multiple year push from environmentalist supporters.
Apparently, what made the difference in California was the support from the California Grocers Association, which previously opposed the bill, according to the Union-Tribune.
Spokesman for the grocers group, David Heylen, said the bill’s revisions that bar local governments from enacting new or stricter laws made sense, according to the story, noting 20 California municipalities are considering similar laws. “We wanted uniformity in who the bill impacts, and we wanted uniformity in how it was enacted,” Heylen said in the story. He also welcomed its inclusion of other stores.
Supporters from environmental groups said the bill, which still needs Senate approval, could prompt other states to follow California’s lead.
But the American Chemistry Council, a trade group for chemistry companies including plastic makers, said the bill could threaten as many as 500 jobs in the Los Angeles area and amount to a $1 billion tax on consumers, according to the story. The tax increase likely to weigh heavy on supporters minds.
Short URL: http://stopthehype.com/?p=1399