California Senate Rejects Statewide Plastic Bag Ban

Defeat Marks Fifth One Since 2010

California Senate Rejects Statewide Plastic Bag BanState senators in California have again failed to pass legislation that would have banned retailers from handing out single-use plastic bags at checkout counters. The defeat marks the fifth time since 2010 a similar bill has not won majority support in California. "It's only a matter of time before we get there," said Sen. Alex Padilla, the author of the latest measure.

Padilla's bill, which had the backing of various business and environmental groups, fell three votes short of passage, as ten Democrats voted with several Republican senators to reject the legislation. Opponents of the bill continue to argue a statewide ban would reduce jobs.

"We thank the members of the California Senate who rejected this misguided policy prescription based on unfounded stats, junk science and myths," said Mark Daniels, chairman of the American Progressive Bag Alliance, a pro-plastics organization. "We hope lawmakers will continue to make responsible decisions on behalf of California's environment and economy."

Already, there are 72 localities in California that have enacted single-use bans, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Monica and Long Beach. Almost one-fifth of Californians live in areas that don't allow grocers, drug and convenience stores to offer customers single-use plastic bags. It's estimated that retailers give out 14 billion plastic bags every year in California, but just 5% are recycled.

Despite the lack of state legislation in California, the rise in local bans is creating sales opportunities for industry firms. "The bans are driving more reusable bag sales by suppliers and distributors," said Matt Poel, senior sales partner at MadeToOrder (asi/259540). "There is also more competition, so more suppliers are entering the market. I believe the single-use bans are positive for the industry, but only if the distributor and end-user are buying safety-tested, higher quality bags."