California is set to become the first state in the United States to impose a ban on plastic grocery bags. In October 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law that would prohibit all stores from freely handing out plastic bags to customers. The ban hopes to protect California’s beaches, waterways and wildlife by reducing the amount of plastic waste and environmental damage caused from plastic bags, which can take years to fully decompose.
“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,” Governor Brown said in statement. “We’re the first to ban these bags, and we won’t be the last.”
Stores will be forced to either hand out paper bags made from recycled material or bags that are environmentally compostable. The bill insists that stores charge at least 10 cents per bag. Plastic bags, however, can still be used for purchases of fruit, vegetables or meat.
When Does the Law Go Into Effect?
If not stalled by its opponents, the law will go into effect in two stages. The first stage will begin July 1, 2015. This stage will only affect large grocery store chains and pharmacies. The law will then expand on July 1, 2016 to also prohibit liquor stores and convenience stores from selling plastic bags.
Small stores not defined by the categories above will be allowed to continue to offer one-use plastic bags to their customers.
While California may be the first state to enact a plastic bag ban, cities across the United States have already passed bag bans of their own. San Francisco was the first major U.S. city to ban plastic bags back in 2007. Los Angeles, Austin, Seattle, Portland and Chicago have since followed suit.
What Can I Do?
With so many cities looking to ban plastic bags, consumers are now looking for alternative ways to carry their groceries to and from the store. One industry that has been booming ever since the first bag bans went into effect is the reusable bag industry.
Reusable grocery bags like this one are the perfect way to carry groceries in a world where plastic bags are no longer welcome. While plastic bags may be cheaper, reusable bags offer benefits that a plastic bag never could. This bag, for example, can carry more weight, more volume and is more comfortable to carry than any plastic grocery bag.
For a more secure solution, this Insulated Grocery Tote keeps your groceries cold and includes a large zippered pouch. Perfect for groceries or light shopping trips!
Looking for reusable bags for your business? Wearable Imaging can help! Click here to contact us for a free creative consultation! Or call us at (949) 888-7837.