Compromise bill would ban plastic bags throughout California

Cashier Sheila Curl puts groceries into a paper bag at Fresco Community Market in Los Angeles last year. Plastic carry-out bags are now banned in Los Angeles and a new bill would ban them statewide.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

SACRAMENTO -- Key legislative opponents of a bill to ban plastic single-use grocery bags in California have negotiated changes that they say will allow them to support a new measure and help it win enough votes to pass this year.

Californians would pay at least 10 cents for each recycled paper bag or resusable plastic bag they get from the grocery store, and single-use plastic bags would be prohibited starting next year under a new compromise bill to be introduced by lawmakers, officials said Thursday.

After three unsuccessful attempts to outlaw plastic carry-out grocery bags, supporters of the bill say they are confident it will receive at least the 21 votes needed in the Senate for passage.


“This breaks a decade-long deadlock on a statewide solution,” said Mark Murray, executive director of Californians Against Waste. “This bill is going to eliminate some 20-billion single-use plastic bags that become litter.”

The agreement will be announced Friday at a Vernon plastics plant that had opposed last year’s bill but supports the new measure, in part, because it includes financial incentives for retraining workers.

Sens. Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles) and Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) had led the opposition last year but now support the measure with changes they have proposed, including a requirement that an independent third-party certify that plastic bags are reusable and paper bags are made of recycled materials.

“We will reduce quite dramatically the scourge of the plastic bags on our beaches and in the L.A. River and at the same time we will grow jobs,” De Leon said.

A plastic bag ban was proposed last year by Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima). The new measure, to be co-authored by Padilla and De Leon, would ban single-use carry-out bags in California grocery stores starting July 1, 2015, and extend the prohibition to pharmacies and liquor stores in 2016.

Plastic bag bans are already in effect in 90 cities and counties in California, including Los Angeles city and county.


The new bill will start out in the Assembly, which previously had approved a similar measure.


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