California Bans Plastic Grocery Bags

California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law the first ban of plastic grocery bags in the country:

SB270 prohibits stores from providing disposable plastic grocery bags to shoppers, and requires them to charge for paper bags. The bill, which proponents called a national model, represents a step toward elimination of the plastic checkout bags which have been a standard for American shoppers since the mid-1970s. Bag manufacturers, however, have vowed to repeal the bill through a ballot initiative.

“This bill is a step in the right direction – it reduces the torrent of plastic polluting our beaches, parks and even the vast ocean itself,” said Governor Brown. “We’re the first to ban these bags, and we won’t be the last.”

While opponents of the legislation (namely, the plastics lobby) point to a charge for paper bags that would “burden” lower class families, the fact is many stores have been giving a credit ranging from five to ten cents per reusable bags brought by customers.

Personally, I have several reusable bags in my trunk at all time. The reusable bags hold more, and more securely. I’d much rather carry two strong bags than 10 half-empty plastic bags.

An then there’s the obvious – it’s better for the environment.