California’s Brown bans plastic bags, taxes paper and encourages bacteria


BAG BAN: Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bag on plastic grocery bags.

By Katy Grimes |

The deal between the California Grocers Association and United Food and Commercial Workers labor union paid off. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill to ban and tax plastic and paper grocery bags … despite the fact that all types of plastic shopping bags can be recycled into new bags.

SB 270 by state Sens. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, Alex Padilla, D Pacoima, and Ricardo Lara, D-Los Angeles, “prohibits stores from distributing lightweight, single-use plastic bags.” Padilla is a candidate for secretary of state.

Immediately after the bill signing, the American Progressive Bag Alliance announced it was preparing to gather signatures for a November 2016 ballot initiative to repeal SB 270.

I remember when plastic bags were foisted on shoppers because cutting down trees for paper was bad. The bags were sold to the public as 100 percent reusable and recyclable.Governor Jerry Brown has repeatedly said, “There will be no new taxes for the foreseeable future.” But the plastic bag ban is also a tax increase on reusable bags, and paper bags — minimum 10 cents per bag — which grocers will pocket.

This new bag bill will allow supermarkets and grocers to charge a minimum of 10 cents each for paper and thicker plastic bags, and pocket the money.

SB 270 bans the recyclable plastic bags and replaces them with heavier plastic bags, five times thicker. It is unclear in this legislation how a significantly thicker plastic bag is better for the environment.

The deal between the UFCW and Grocers was made without any change in the legislation — no new amendments, which led many to criticize the dubiousness of the back room deal.

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