By Elizabeth Tansing, Director of State Government Relations, Food Marketing Institute
California Governor Jerry Brown (D) signed the nation’s first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags yesterday. It will go into effect July 1, 2015 for grocery stores and pharmacies, and a year later for convenience stores and liquor stores.
The bill cleared the legislature in late-August, in the final hours of the legislative session. It commanded the support of a wide range of industry, labor and environmental groups, including the California Grocers Association (CGA).
With shopping bag restrictions of all types already on the books in more than 100 localities in the state, CGA supported the law in the hopes that it would bring much needed statewide consistency. Although the new law preserves city and county plastic bag regulations currently in place, it will preempt any further local action in the field.
While a statewide solution on plastic bags may work for California, it might not be the best fit for every state.But without a doubt, state-level proposals to ban or restrict plastic shopping bags have become more common in recent years. FMI continues to monitor these efforts. Currently, over 40 bills are pending in nine states. A chart of all current state shopping bag legislation may be viewed here. FMI additionally monitors local plastic bag bans through our Local Monitoring Report.