NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Calif. Rejects Ban on Plastic Shopping Bags

September 1, 2010

A bill to ban plastic bags in California was rejected yesterday by state lawmakers, according to the Associated Press:

  • The bill received only 14 votes -- seven votes short of the majority it needed.
  • Supporters of the statewide ban say the 19 billion plastic bags residents use every year harm the environment and cost the state $25 million annually to collect and transport to landfills.
  • San Francisco became the first California city to ban single-use plastic bags in 2007.
  • Palo Alto, Malibu and Fairfax in Marin County have since followed.

The bill called for the ban to take effect in supermarkets and large retail stores in 2012.  It would have applied to smaller stores in 2013.  Republicans and some Democrats opposed it, saying it would add an extra burden on consumers and businesses at a time when many already are struggling financially, says the Associated Press:

  • Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, was one of half a dozen Democrats to vote against the bill.
  • Wolk said the state instead should offer incentives for reducing the use of plastic bags before imposing a statewide mandate.

Bans on plastic bags first gained traction outside of the United States in places such as South Africa, Ireland, China and Bangladesh.  Washington, D.C., implemented a 5-cent surcharge on disposable paper and plastic bags in January.

Source: Robin Hindery, "Calif. rejects ban on plastic shopping bags," Associated Press, September 1, 2010.


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