Say Goodbye to Plastic: California’s New Legislation to Enforce Paper Bags Only

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Written By Angela Angela






Shopping without plastic bags has long been encouraged by Californians. Voters and the California Legislature authorised a measure to accomplish that about a decade ago.

Unfortunately, a legal loophole permitted thicker plastic bags to become the standard at grocery store checkout stands since they were renewable and recyclable.

Per a 2023 Los Angeles Times article, few Californians reuse thicker plastic bags for groceries, and none recycle them.

This is why we sponsored mirror measures in the California Legislature. Forget “Paper or Plastic?” Only paper bags are available if you forget yours.

Senator Bill 1053 passed 31-7 and Assembly Bill 2236 approved 51-7. This summer, the legislation will be voted on by the other house and hopefully signed by the governor.

Last 10 years of plastic bag waste figures are gloomy. California has seen a 46% rise in plastic bag waste since banning thinner bags, as reported by CALPIRG.

Annually, 18 billion pounds of plastic garbage enters the waters from coastal areas. 5 food bags per foot of coastline worldwide.

Plastic usage has led to a tenfold increase in pollution since 1980, as well as the annual deaths of 100,000 marine animals and 1 million seabirds.

EPA has detected many types of plastic in oceans and streams, with polyethylene being the most frequent due to single-use plastic bag usage.

Evidently, the plastics business has been advertising against the measures. Plastic requires oil, thus the oil industry is seeking for alternate profit streams as customers shift away from fossil fuels. However, plastic consumption is rising annually and is predicted to continue. Plastic will use 20% of oil by 2050.

My bill’s opponents believe that eliminating thicker plastic film bags will increase plastic use by encouraging consumers to use non-woven polypropylene bags that will be thrown after one use. Don’t believe it. It’s not necessary for companies to find ways around our state’s plastic bag prohibition.

We recognise that living a plastic-free existence is practically impossible as environmentalists. Senate Bill 54 by Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, the Plastic Pollution Prevention and Packaging Product Responsibility Act, bodes well. It created the largest extended producer responsibility programme. This law puts producers in charge of reducing and eliminating plastic waste.

By 2032, all single-use plastic packaging and food service ware sold in the state must be recyclable or compostable under this new regulation. SB 54 represents progress, but urgent action is required.

Customers can bring or buy reusable bags or a 10-cent paper bag with at least 50% recycled material after our laws take effect. Retailers like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s offer solely paper bags.

Among our legislation’s over 100 environmental backers is the California Grocers Association, which represents grocery retailers.

Now is the moment to abolish grocery shop plastic film bags.

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