Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) today introduced legislation (Assembly Bill 158) to ban single-use plastic grocery bags.
"To continue the use of these bags would ignore the convincing body of global evidence proving that these bags are having a drastic effect on marine ecocultures," Levine said. "Additionally, there are several easily available and affordable alternatives to plastic bags. We need to ban these bags once and for all."
Globally, it is estimated that we use more than 500 billion plastic bags annually. Plastic bags account for roughly 10% of all the debris that washes up on our beaches. Hundreds of thousands of marine fish and mammals are killed annually as plastic bags float out to sea.
Specific provisions of AB 158 would in part include the following:
1. Beginning on January 1, 2015, full-line grocery stores with more than $2 million in annual sales or retailers with more than 10,000 square feet of floor space from be prohibited from providing single-use plastic bags to customers.
2. From January 1, 2015 to July 30, 2016, stores above could provide recycled paper bags to customers.
3. Stores subject to this bill would be required to make reusable grocery bags available for sale.
Last year, Marin County's ban on single-use carry-out plastic bags went into effect. "It is no longer a secret. Banning plastic bags is good for our environment and fine for business," said Marin County Supervisor Steve Kinsey. "It is working in Marin and makes sense for all of California. I am pleased that Assemblymember Levine is providing a path way there."
"This issue is being taken up at the local level in California as dozens of City Councils and Boards of Supervisors consider resolutions banning plastic grocery bags. The elimination of plastic bags is inevitable and it is time for a statewide solution to this problem," said Levine. "I look forward to working with environmental advocates, plastics manufacturers, grocers, and retailers on crafting legislation that can be implemented expediently, effectively, and economically."
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Assemblymember Levine represents the 10th Assembly District which includes Marin County and southern Sonoma County.