Plastic bag ban may be delayed in California
California Senate Bill 270, passed by the state legislature and signed into law in September, would ban many retail stores from dispensing single-use plastic bags as of July 1, 2015. But in another example of a special interest perverting democracy when it does not get its way, the Plastics Industry Trade Association (SPI) has announced it has collected over 800,000 signatures to qualify for a statewide up-or-down vote in November 2016. Once that tally is confirmed, the July ban would be postponed until the following year.
You probably saw the sign gatherers at stores such as Target, where I was greeted with an appeal to sign my name and take sides with the “American Progressive Bag Alliance” in order to reverse this “backdoor deal” — until the fellow with the clipboard saw my reusable bags. “Oh, you’re one of those,” he said with an eye-roll, because as you know, someone like me who likes to wear labels, shops at Costco and makes mac-and-cheese out of a box (when no one is looking) is such a hippie.
So why do I support the bag ban? Why should California stick to its guns?
If plastic bags were 100% recyclable, I would also think SB 270 would be silly and a waste of time. The SPI insists it is a vanguard of plastics recycling in the U.S., but the statistics just do not back up the talk. At best, only 12 percent of plastic bags, wraps and sacks were recycled in 2012; overall plastic waste was recycled at a rate of nine percent. Sure, the quick answer is to pass the buck to manufacturers, retailers and consumers and charge them with the responsibility of recycling. But if plastic bag recycling made economic sense, it would become the norm.
Plastic bags image via Shutterstock.
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