The California Governor signed legislation phasing out the single-use plastic bags that grocery stores and other retailers use to package products at the checkout line. Celebrated as a sweeping victory for environmentalists, the Progressive Bag Alliance industry group began to collect signatures in an effort to overturn the law via a referendum in 2016.
The Governor stated that “this bill is a step in the right direction – it reduces the torrent of plastic polluting our beaches, parks and even the vast ocean itself, We’re the first to ban these bags, and we won’t be the last.”
The Bag Alliance said, “Our research confirms that the vast majority of California voters are opposed to legislation that bans recyclable plastic bags and allows grocers to charge and keep fees on other bags.” It denounced the law as “a back room deal between the grocers and union bosses to scam California consumers out of billions of dollars without providing any public benefit – all under the guise of environmentalism.”
The legislation allows local governments to impose fines of up to $5,000 on retailers that don’t stop using single-use plastic bags or fail to charge for substitutes. But in San Francisco, where California’s first plastic bag ban has now been extended to cover businesses both large and small, the city has not charged any businesses so far.
Sound familiar? It wasn’t to long ago that the City of Toronto tried to implement a plastic bag ban.