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Plastic Bag Ban Bill Debate Heats Up

Jeff Barnard / AP

Jeff Barnard / AP

A bill (SB 270) in the California legislature would ban single-use plastic grocery bags and require a 10-cent charge on paper bags. It would prohibit grocery stores and pharmacies from giving the plastic bags to consumers.

The money collected from the charge would be used to cover the costs of complying with the law, actual costs of providing recyclable carryout bags and for education campaigns encouraging use of recyclable bags.

Cathy Browne is General Manager of Crown Poly, a company that makes single-use plastic bags in Huntington Park. She's against a ban, whether or not there's a fee for paper bags. 

"Whatever the minimum fee is utilized for, it's still in the pocket of private companies,” said Browne. “And public policy and California legislators do not need to tax consumers and give it to the grocers."

Mark Murray is the Executive Director of Californians Against Waste. He said reusable bags will save people money.

“These reusable bags are better for the environment and at the end of the day it's cheaper for consumers,” said Murray. “You've always been paying 10-cents for those paper bags, it's just been hidden in the price of your groceries.”

He said city and county plastic bag bans now cover about 30 percent of California. Murray said under SB 270, those bans would be left in place.

If passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Jerry Brown, the ban would take effect on July 1, 2015.

The single-use plastic bag bill has yet to be considered by the full Senate and Assembly.

Other bills to ban the bags have failed in recent sessions.

Cities throughout the United States have implemented plastic bag bans. This map showing muncipalities that have rules on plastic bags is provided courtesy of the Earth Policy Institute.

Ed Joyce

Former All Things Considered Anchor & Reporter

Ed Joyce is a former reporter and All Things Considered news anchor at Capital Public Radio. Ed is a veteran journalist with experience in a variety of news positions across all media platforms, including radio, television, web and print.   Read Full Bio