Canadian Packaging

California Dreaming of No Plastic Bags


June 4, 2010
by Canadian Packaging Staff

The State of California seeks to become the first to ban plastic shopping bags via the AB 1988 bill that still needs to pass the state Senate.

The cities of San Francisco and Oakland have already banned plastic bag use, and the U.S. capital of Washington D.C. now requires all grocery stores to charge  five cents for each plastic bag.

On June 2, the California State Assembly  passed the bill via a 41-27 vote, which calls for the termination of plastic bags being offered at grocery stores as of January 2012. The ban, if passed by the State Senate will by July 2013 also extend to convenience stores, drugstores and mom-and-pop shops.

WHAT IT MEANS

Just like what is going on in Toronto, Ont., if consumers require a bag for their purchased goods, they may bring in one of their own reusable bags or purchase one from the retailer for fiver cents–although the California bill says the purchased may only be manufactured from paper.

The recent vote was given a push by the California Grocers Association (CGA), who had until recently opposed the bill. The CGA changed their stance after several recent amendments were added stating that local governments could not enact new or stricter laws–feeling that the inclusion of this better protected its member constituency.

WILL IT BE BACK?

Like any controversial bill, there are those who oppose it.

The American Chemistry Council (ACC), a trade group for chemistry companies including plastic makers, said the proposed bill could threaten as many as 500 jobs in the Los Angeles-area and amount to a what is essentially a $1-billion tax on consumers.

In a released statement, the ACC says passing the bill will result in an increase in solid waste and greenhouse gas emissions. As well, the Council charges that it would cripple the successful; California statewide recycling programs for: plastic dry-cleaning bags, newspaper delivery bags, retail bags and consumer product wrap.