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Crucial Vote Nears For Plastic Bag Ban

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

A push to ban single-use plastic bags at grocery stores and large retailers across California comes up for a crucial vote Thursday – and there’s been heavy lobbying from both sides on a bill that seeks to change your behavior when you shop.

Some bills at the state Capitol don’t have much impact on your daily life. But we all need groceries. That’s why plastic bag manufacturers are running TV ads like this one opposing a statewide ban on their product.

The manufacturers argue the bill would eliminate 2,000 jobs and allow grocers to keep all the paper bag fee revenues for themselves.

“What really bothers me is that the grocers are just grabbing cash. There’s no benefit to the state, the city, the county, anywhere,” says Rashied Yuille, who works at one of the factories.

Democratic state Senator Alex Padilla disputes the criticism. He points to more than 100 California cities and counties that already have plastic bag bans in place – covering a third of the state’s population.

“What we’ve seen in practice is a tremendous drop in not just the plastic bags that we’re phasing out but even the paper bags that are available for purchase – and most consumers easily transitioning to the use of the reusable bags, which is of course the ultimate solution,” Padilla says.

The measure would grandfather in the existing local ordinances. It would also exempt low-income Californians on public assistance from having to pay the paper bag fee.

Click on the map below to learn about municipalities around the U.S. that have a plastic bag regulation.

Source: Earth Policy Institute

Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio 

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