Decision on California Plastic Bag Ban SB270 to Come Down in November
The plastic bag ban movement is almost synonymous with California. While the movement is certainly picking up momentum throughout the rest of the country, the Golden State has definitely embraced the notion of banning single-use plastic bags with well over 100 bag bans on the books.
When the idea of a statewide ban began to circulate, it made perfect sense; in 2014 Governor Jerry Brown signed measure SB270 into law that banned single-use plastic bags and levied a 10-cent fee on paper bags. This ban was set to go into action in July 2015. However, opponents managed to delay the ban.
Voters to Decide the Future of Plastic Bags in California
Through legal maneuvering, the issue of whether or not to ban single-use plastic bags was put on hold and will appear on the November ballot. Now the residents of California will decide if the ban will be implemented or not.
The opposition is lead by the plastics industry, most notably Helix Poly. The campaign to get the ban on the ballot, officially known as Proposition 67, came in at a cost of $3 million. Millions more have been spent to date trying to get voters to vote against Prop 67. The plastic industry took up the cause because if this ban goes through, it will diminish the demand for plastic bags and hurt the plastics industry's bottom line.
Opponents Target the Paper Bags and Fees
On the record, the plastics industry has a few arguments against the ban. They claim banning plastic bags will simply make shoppers switch to paper bags, and they say that paper bags aren’t much better. Both plastic and paper bags are recyclable; however, paper bags are much more likely to be recycled. Much of the criticism against plastic bags wouldn’t be an issue if the bags were recycled.
Paper bags are also made using sustainable resources, which makes them easier on the planet. Disposable plastic bag bans do typically cause an increase in paper bag use, as long as the law does not also ban paper bags. When a bag ban levies a fee on alternative bags, it is usually enough of a disincentive for shoppers to not simply switch to exclusively using paper bags.
The fee itself also came under scrutiny. Per SB270 retailers get to keep the money collected by the fee. The intention was to help offset the cost to retailers of stocking paper bags. Opponents claim if the spirit of the ban is truly preventing environmental harm, than the fees should go to environmental causes.
The plastics industry is working to add a second measure to the November ballot. This one would mandate that fee go to environmental projects instead of retailers.
Single-Use Plastic Bag Bans Abound in California
Despite all of this craziness, there is still strong sentiment and support around banning disposable plastic bags in California. Several cities put plans to implement their own bans on hold prior to Governor Jerry Brown signing SB270. This made sense because why duplicate efforts?
Now, some cities such as Cathedral City and San Diego have decided to go forward with their own bans, while others will take action if necessary after the election results are in. We’re waiting with fingers crossed to find out if California will be the first to issue a statewide ban.
What is Your Brand or Retail Outlet Waiting For?
Bag bans are spreading throughout the nation which makes now the perfect time for your business or retail outlet to begin effectively marketing with custom reusable bags. Stick around and look through our site and contact Beth Wilkerson with any questions or fill out a quote request located on each page of our site.