Grocery Giants Face Plastic Bag Ban Battle in California

5

California Moves to Ban Reusable Plastic Bags in Grocery Stores: A Step Towards Greener Future

Los Angeles, May 28, 2024

California has taken a significant step towards combating plastic pollution by approving two bills that prohibit grocery and convenience stores from providing reusable plastic bags to customers. The legislation, known as AB2236 and SB1053, was unanimously approved by both houses of the state legislature.

“California has been a leader on the issue of reducing plastic pollution, and these new bills will strengthen our efforts to protect our environment,” said Assemblymember Phil Ting, the author of AB2236. “Reusable plastic bags are not truly reusable, and they often end up in landfills or as litter.”

Although California previously banned thin, single-use plastic bags, advocates for the two new bills argued that these measures were insufficient. They pointed to studies showing that reusable plastic bags contribute to microplastic pollution and can take hundreds of years to decompose.

“We’re excited that California is taking this bold step to address the problem of plastic pollution,” said Suzanne Martinson, a spokesperson for the environmental group Surfrider Foundation. “Reusable plastic bags are a major source of litter and plastic waste that harms our oceans and marine life.”

The new legislation will require grocery stores and convenience stores throughout the state to stop providing reusable plastic bags by 2025. Businesses that violate the law could face fines.

Some industry groups have expressed concerns about the impact of the ban on retail businesses. They argue that reusable plastic bags are an important way for customers to reduce their consumption of other types of plastic. However, supporters of the ban believe that the environmental benefits far outweigh any negative impacts.

“We’re confident that businesses will be able to adjust to this new law and find other ways to provide customers with convenient and sustainable options,” said Senator Ben Hueso, the author of SB1053.

The legislation still needs to be signed by Governor Gavin Newsom before it can become law. If signed, the ban on reusable plastic bags will take effect on January 1, 2025.

Data sourced from: ktla.com