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California Measure First to Eliminate Plastic Bags Statewide

Convenience stores in the state have until July 2016 to stop using plastic bags.
October 2, 2014

​SACRAMENTO – Earlier this week, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a measure that will phase out single-use plastic bags from California supermarkets, convenience stores, liquor stores and pharmacies.

California is the first state in the nation to enact such a ban at the state level, creating a statewide standard following the 127 cities and counties who have already adopted local bag ordinances.

In signing the measure, Governor Brown said, “We're the first to ban these bags, and we won't be the last.” (Hawaii effectively has a statewide ban, but it’s because of local ordinances, not state legislation.)

Beginning July 1, 2015, grocery stores and pharmacies will no longer be allowed to provide single-use plastic bags. Stores will offer paper and reusable plastic bags for at least 10 cents each. On July 1, 2016, the ban will extend to convenience and liquor stores.

Local ordinances are grandfathered in and the state will provide $2 million in competitive loans to help plastic-bag businesses transition to making reusable bags. A representative for plastic bag industry trade groups warned that the ban will cost thousands of jobs and enrich grocers collecting 10-cents a bag. Plans are already in the works to launch a petition drive to qualify a referendum to repeal the measure. If the drive collects 504,760 signatures in the next 90 days to qualify the referendum, the new law would be suspended until November 2016.