It appears to be coming. In California it’s already here. With plastic bags clogging waste facilities and waterways in America, it seemed inevitable that governments would begin to take steps to reduce this form of pollution. Time to consider buying sturdier, reusable shopping bags for your purchases.
Recently, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that prohibits large grocery stores and drugstores in that state from giving customers their purchases in single use bags. The bill becomes effective in July 2015. The following year, smaller grocery stores and convenience stores will be have to comply with the new law.
The legislation also offers a compensation to the stores by allowing them to charge a 10-cent fee for reusable or paper bags. The statewide legislation built on actions taken by more than 100 towns and cities in California, including Los Angeles and SanFrancisco that already had bans in place. Their regulations, if adopted before Sept. 1, 2014, will be protected by a grandfathering clause built into the state law. Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island are also considering banning the plastic bags.
“We’re the first to ban these bags and we won’t be the last,” Brown said in a statement. The companies that produce the single-use bags fought the legislation, saying it will result in job losses.
But Brown pointed to the enormous costs of trying to manage the litter produced by the bags. Millions of dollars are spent every year by recycling facilities and landfills that are threatened to be buried under the debris, he said.
With the handwriting on the wall, many consumers already are buying sturdier bags that can be reused for a long time.