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Shoppers Respond To California's Plastic Bag Ban

eflon / Flickr

eflon / Flickr

California shoppers have 10 months until plastic shopping bags disappear at grocery stories and pharmacies. And anyone wanting a paper bag will have to pay a small fee. The change doesn’t sit well with Duane Wolf who was shopping at a Sacramento grocery store.

“And what upsets me is that fact that, when I was a kid you got paper bags. And then the big push was, oh we’ve gotta go to plastic because we’re killing all these trees! Now we go to plastic bags and we’re banning those, you know?” 

Shopper Carolyne Swayze says she’s not opposed to a ban, but plastic bags are not her top concern.

“It’s not a hill to die on for me. Believe me, there’s a whole lot going on in the world and plastic bags are not at the top of my list. But I can appreciate that it certainly doesn’t hurt.”

Shopper Steven Willey says he’s going to take the opportunity to start using more cloth shopping bags.

“I need to man up and start getting my own bags. And, actually, it’s funny that this comes up, because over the weekend I bought a few. So I’m going to try to use those.” 

Ban supporters say Californian’s use billions of plastic bags each year.

Next July the bags will be eliminated at grocery stores and pharmacies. The following year the law will be extended to liquor and convenience stores.

Mark Murray is with Californians Against Waste. He says the ban will reduce pollution and stressed plastic bags are not biodegradable.

“So that means that virtually every plastic bag that was every distributed in California still persists in our environment.”

But bag manufacturers are already planning to put the ban before voters in an attempt to overturn it. The American Progressive Bag Alliance says it will begin collecting signatures to put a referendum on the 2016 ballot.

The American Forest & Paper Association opposes a provision in the bill that requires shoppers be charged at least 10 cents for requesting a paper bag. The group’s Terry Webber says it could discourage use of paper bags, which are recyclable

“We are one of the most sustainable options out there in the marketplace and consumers shouldn’t have to pay a penalty for using our product," he says.

Webber notes the money from the bag fee stays with the retailer. He says his group will work to get the provision removed from the law. He says there has not be any discussion about whether to join the plastic bag manufacturers in their referendum effort. 




We talked with some Sacramento residents outside Safeway about the plastic bag ban Jerry Brown signed into law today.

Bag Ban 930 Stone -square

Paul Stone

"That means we're going to have more paper bags distributed across the landscape - true the paper will break down quicker, but it's pollution either way... I'll just get paper bags and deal with them instead."

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Duane Wolf

"What upsets me is the fact that when I was a kid you got paper bags and then the big push was we got to go to plastic because we're killing all these trees, now we got to plastic bags and we're banning those. Come on, can't we make up our minds?"

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Chris Baker

"I think there's more important things we could be putting our resources to. I use plastic bags every time I go to the grocery store, they're convenient, they get reused."

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Miriam Cruz

"I think it's good, a lot of places in the bay are already doing it. I work at a theme park so I don't know how it's going to work out, but I'm glad it's over with. Plastic bags are just pollution."

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David Malakie

"I have mixed feelings. I know they are not good for the environment, however we use them at home. We have a cat... I'm sure there are alternatives. If that's the law, that's the law - what can we do? We'll have to find a different way."

Melody Stone and Cody Drabble contributed to this story.