California First to Enact State Level Plastic Bag Ban

An October 2 Governing article reported that California will become the first state to ban single-use plastic bags at the state level.  (Hawaii will have an effective statewide ban in 2015 due to bans passed by its local governments.)  From the article:

Many cities and counties in the state already have plastic bag bans in place, including San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles County. With [California Governor Jerry] Brown signing SB270 by Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Pacoima, grocery stores and pharmacies statewide will phase out the use of plastic bags by July 2015. A year later, convenience stories and liquor stores can no longer distribute plastic bags. …

SB270 provides $2 million in competitive loans to help plastic bag manufacturers convert their operations to produce reusable bags. Grocers will be required to charge at least 10 cents for each recycled paper bag or reusable bag provided to a customer.

The article also noted some of the pro and con arguments for the bill:

Opponents of the bill said the statewide plastic bag ban is government overreach, while others argued that the per bag fee grocers will charge will amount to a windfall that essentially allows customers to be charged twice since the cost of carry out bags are already factored into store prices.  …

Each year, California spends $25 million to dispose of 14 billion plastic bags used annually, according to a legislative analysis of the bill. Plastic bags make up 2 percent of the overall waste in California, but they are the predominate form of marine debris. The ultimate destination for much of the plastic waste from California’s coast is the North Pacific Central Gyre, where researchers say more than 300,000 plastic particles are found per square mile.

California SB 270 of 2014