Governor speaks well of plastic bag ban

Brown says he will "probably" sign SB 270 during gubernatorial debate

Sacramento – Governor Brown has promised he will sign 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. Senators Alex Padilla, Kevin de León, and Ricardo Lara authored the measure, which passed out of the California State Legislature last week.

“I probably will sign it, yes,” said Governor Brown. “In fact, I'll tell you why I'm going to sign it. … This is a compromise. It’s taken into account the needs of the environment and the needs of the economy and the needs of the grocers. I think, on balance, this will protect the environment—because we have far too much waste and throughput—but at the same time we’re doing it in a very standard way that will not disrupt business in California.”

“Nothing we use for a few minutes should pollute our ocean for hundreds of years,” said Nathan Weaver, Oceans Advocate for Environment California. “I applaud Governor Brown for pledging to sign SB 270.”

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 congratulate Senators Padilla, De León, and Lara and Governor Brown for their leadership on this issue.”

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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).