SACRAMENTO – California is a step closer to banning single-use plastic bags statewide thanks to the leadership of Assemblymember Mike Gatto and Senators Alex Padilla, Kevin de León, and Ricardo Lara. The bill, SB 270 cleared a key vote in Assemblymember Gatto’s Appropriations Committee, the last hurdle before reaching a floor vote by the full Assembly. SB 270 will ban single-use plastic bags in grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores, and food marts.
“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 applaud Chairman Gatto for his work on SB 270,” added Weaver. “Today’s vote makes clear that Mr. Gatto is a friend of the environment. 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. Plastic bags are also one of the five most common items littered on California’s beaches according to Ocean Conservancy’s annual beach cleanup data.
More than 115 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.