LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — An increasing number of retailers in Southern California no longer provide plastic bags for customers – and now one local lawmaker wants the ban to go statewide.
State Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) was joined Monday by a coalition of environmental and business groups in support of Senate Bill 405, which would phase out single-use plastic bags in California grocery stores, convenience stores, liquor stores, and pharmacies.
Padilla has rallied a number of environmental and business groups to throw their support behind SB 405, including Californians Against Waste, Environment California, Heal the Bay, Clean Seas Coalition, Azul, California League of Conservation Voters, Coastkeepers, Surfrider, California Grocers Association and the California Retailers Association.
Padilla told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO that all Californians both inland and along the coastline should be concerned about the issue.
“It’s not a problem that’s isolated to coastal areas of our state, whether it’s inland rivers or simply just litter in our cities and towns,” Padilla said. “I do believe we’re at a tipping point now where the demand and consensus for a statewide policy is upon us.”
But legislation introduced by Assemblywoman Julia Brownley of Santa Monica in 2010 that would have eliminated the use of plastic bags statewide failed to garner enough votes in the Senate after a furious lobbying campaign by the plastic bag manufacturing industry.
Under SB 405, grocery stores and pharmacies would be prohibited from making available single-use plastic bags effective Jan. 1, 2015. Any paper bags offered to customers would have to include recycled content and customers would have to be charged the actual cost of providing the recycled paper bags.
Convenience stores and liquor stores would be required to meet the same standard beginning July 1, 2016. The bill would not pre-empt any local ordinances already in place.
While fees are yet to be determined, Padilla admits lawmakers are still divided over the details of any proposed statewide measure.
“I believe whether it’s a 10-cent fee, a five-cent fee, a fee to be determined is appropriate…minor, minor cost to the consumer, but part of making a big impact on protecting the environment,” said Padilla.
In addition to environmental benefits, a statewide policy could “save local governments millions of dollars annually,” according to Padilla.