California bans plastic bags

For Immediate Release

Sacramento – The California Senate voted 22-15 to pass a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags. The bill, SB 270, will phase out such bags in grocery stores and pharmacies beginning July 2015, and in convenience stores one year later. Senators Alex Padilla, Kevin de León, and Ricardo Lara authored the measure, which now heads to the Governor’s desk.

“This important step forward shows that we can achieve lasting victories for ocean and environmental health,” said Nathan Weaver, Oceans Advocate with Environment California. “Nothing we use for a few minutes should pollute our ocean for hundreds of years. I congratulate Senators Padilla, de León, and Lara for their victory today, and I thank them for their leadership to protect our environment.”

Plastic bags are a direct threat to wildlife, like the Pacific leatherback sea turtles that mistake them for food. A study of over 370 leatherback sea turtle autopsies found that one in three had plastic in their stomach, most often a plastic bag.[1] Plastic bags are also one of the most common items littered on California’s beaches according to Ocean Conservancy’s annual beach cleanup data.[2]

More than 120 California local governments have already banned single-use plastic bags, including Los Angeles, Oakland, Long Beach, San Jose, and South Lake Tahoe. More than 1 in 3 Californians already live somewhere with a plastic bag ban in place.

“The experience of over 120 cities shows that this policy works,” concluded Weaver. “I urge Governor Brown to sign SB 270 into law.”

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Environment California is a state-based, citizen-funded, environmental advocacy organization
working toward a cleaner, greener, healthier future

[1] Nicholas Mrosovsky et al., Leatherback Turtles: The Menace of Plastic, 58 Marine Pollution Bulletin 287, 288 (2009).
[2] E.g. Ocean Conservancy, Turning the Tide on Trash 20-21 (2014).