Governor Brown will serve the Bag Monster a final eviction notice as he has promised to sign the statewide plastic bag ban into law in the golden state of California. The bill, SB 270, will eliminate plastic bag usage in grocery stores and pharmacies as early as July 2015, and will curb all usage in convenience stores within the following year.
He says, “I’ll tell you why I’m going to sign it. … This is a compromise. It’s taken into account the needs of the environment and the needs of the economy and the needs of the grocers. I think, on balance, this will protect the environment—because we have far too much waste and throughput—but at the same time we’re doing it in a very standard way that will not disrupt business in California.”
The bill, authored by Senators Alex Padilla, Kevin de León, and Ricardo Lara was passed by the California State Legislature last month. Over 120 other California local governments have already banned single-use plastic bags, including Los Angeles, Oakland, Long Beach, San Jose, and South Lake Tahoe. In California alone, 1 in 3 residents currently live somewhere with a plastic ban set in place.
According to the Ocean Conservancy’s annual beach cleanup data, plastic bags of various kinds, are one of the most common items littered on California’s beaches. Plastic bags are a direct threat to precious wildlife such as the Pacific sea turtle that digest them mistakingly for food. In a study of over 370 leatherback sea turtle autopsies, 1 in 3 contained plastic in their stomach and most often found was a solid plastic bag.
“Nothing we use for a few minutes should pollute our ocean for hundreds of years,” said Nathan Weaver, Oceans Advocate for Environment California. “The experience of over 120 cities shows that this policy works,” concluded Weaver. “I congratulate Senators Padilla, De León, and Lara and Governor Brown for their leadership on this issue and I applaud Governor Brown for pledging to sign SB 270.”
Nicholas Mrosovsky et al., Leatherback Turtles: The Menace of Plastic, 58 Marine Pollution Bulletin 287, 288 (2009).
E.g. Ocean Conservancy, Turning the Tide on Trash 20-21 (2014).