California bans single-use plastic shopping bags

September 11, 2014 | Environment
Plastic bags: California is ready to stop them | Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters

California is ready to ban single-use plastic shopping bags and put a fee on paper bags.

On August 29, 2014, the state legislature approved SB 270, the first bag ban bill to make it through in the USA.

The proposed law, which will also put a 10-cent fee on paper bags, will have to wait for a final signature by Governor Jerry Brown. "I probably will sign it, yes," he has already stated.

The plastic ban in California will dramatically reduce the number of bags floating on the ocean's surface, making waves and beaches much cleaner.

The bill was introduced by California State Senators Alex Padilla, Kevin DeLeon, and Ricardo Lara and defines that single-use plastic bags will not be allowed in grocery stores and large pharmacies by July 1st, 2015.

The extension to smaller convenience stores, food marts, and liquor stores takes effect July 1st, 2016.

Until now, more than 100 local governments around California, especially along the coast, already adopted plastic bag bans.

They include Los Angeles, city and county; San Francisco, Malibu, Huntington Beach, and Santa Barbara.

California is the first US state to approve a law to end plastic bags. In Hawaii, the decision to stop plastic was a result of county-by-county decisions.