California bans plastic bags

Governor signs bill to ban single-use bags statewide
For Immediate Release

Sacramento – Governor Brown has signed a statewide plastic bag ban into law. The bill, SB 270, will phase out such bags in grocery stores and pharmacies beginning July 2015, and in convenience stores one year later. Environmentalists overwhelmingly supported the measure authored by senators Alex Padilla, Kevin de León, and Ricardo Lara.

“From the thousands of sea turtles that are now safer from plastic bags to the thousands of volunteers who remove these bags from our beaches and rivers, this bill means a cleaner ocean for everyone,” said Nathan Weaver with Environment California. “I applaud Governor Brown for signing SB 270 and phasing out single-use plastic bags. Nothing we use for a few minutes should pollute our ocean for hundreds of years.”

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 125 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.

“This victory belongs to the whole environmental community, concluded Weaver. “In particular, I salute my colleagues at Heal the Bay, Surfrider, Azul, 7th Generation Advisors, and Californian’s Against Waste for their terrific work on this bill.”

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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).