Environment
5:22 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

For California Lawmakers, Plastic Bag Ban Debate is Back


One of the most controversial issues in the California legislature in recent years is back.  Lawmakers are proposing several bills that would either ban the use of plastic bags, charge fees for single-use bags or both.  Ben Adler reports from Sacramento.

This idea has stalled in the legislature year after year, amid strong opposition from plastic bag manufacturers and grocers.  But Democratic Assemblyman Mark Levine says this time will be different.

“The conversation on plastic bag bans has progressed.  Now, we’re up to 62 different jurisdictions that have some sort of a ban on single-use plastic bags.  And I think we’re in a better place this year to pass the bill than we have been in the past,” says Levine. 

Levine is authoring one of two bills that would eliminate the use of plastic bags at grocery and big box stores – and allow those stores to charge small fees for paper bags.  There’s a similar proposal in the State Senate.  A separate measure would charge a five-cent fee on paper and plastic bags, with the revenues going to cleanup efforts in local parks.

The American Forest and Paper Association opposes all three of this year’s bills.  It says fees on paper bags are unnecessary and counterproductive.

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