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Cloth Shopping Bags and Plastic Bag Ban in California


The bill to ban single use plastic crossed its first major hurdle in the capital this week. The state of California has been trying to promote the ban of plastic bags in stores across the state for a few weeks but has had no results. With the passing of this bill, it will be illegal to use “single use” plastic bags unless it is a small grocery shop.

A Statewide Ban on Plastic Bags in California

Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael said that it had been a topic for long conversations across California and the time is nigh to ban plastic bags. The bill AB 158 proposed by him passed its first policy committee. The bill makes it illegal to use plastic bag from 1 January 2015. If there are businesses that are found non-compliant with the bill, they will be charged a fine of $500. The bill also proposes that the store providing the bags also give the customer an option to return the clean bags. The store is required to meet a lot of requirements before they are allowed to let plastic bags pass through their doors.

The efforts to charge a fee or ban single use plastic have been in effect since 2007, State Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Pacoima, proposed this. The bill proposed by Padilla is similar to be one proposed by Levine and is called the SB 405, which is being used in the current session. There has been a lot of resistance to the passing of this bill in the state, while some may understand the harmful effects of plastic bags on the environment, others argue that the cost of a cloth bag is higher and a lot of people would find that hard to afford day on day.

Debate on Cloth Shopping Bags and Plastic Bags

The effort to ban plastic bags in the state capital has been met with repeated resistance by the locals. The locals claim that cloth shopping bags are expensive and cannot be afforded by everyone. Over a hundred people now have an ordinance on the bill. There was a debate during the hearing on Monday at the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources about whether the bill will be met with some kind of Legislative action.

There was a lot of focus on the impact of these bags on marine life in California. Justin Malan, representing the Santa Monica’s Initiative of “Heal the Bay” said that it is time to do what is hard for the better good. He said that the plastic bags do not decompose, and create havoc when they get into the waterways. On the other side, supporter of the plastic industry and Republicans claim that there are several uses to plastics bags. Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield said the plastic bag is put to several uses after it is brought into her home. She said her husband uses one to carry his lunch and she uses it to transport her dirty laundry while travelling.


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