The statewide ban on plastic grocery bags has broad support among voters, presenting a challenge for industry groups that hope to overturn the law, according to a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll.


Sixty percent of the voters who answered the survey said they support the ban, signed recently by Gov. Jerry Brown. It applies to single-use plastic sacks at grocery stores and pharmacies starting July 1 and expands to convenience and liquor stores a year later.


Time to invest in a reusable shopping bag.


Concluding the long odyssey of one of the most contentious bills of 2014, Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed legislation phasing out the single-use plastic bags that grocery stores and other retailers use to package products at the checkout line. Brown’s assent hands a sweeping victory to environmentalists and vindicates the scores of cities and counties that have already banned bags.


“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,” Brown wrote in a signing message. “We’re the first to ban these bags, and we won’t be the last.”


On the last day of the 2014 legislative session, the California Legislature passed two landmark environmental reforms. The Legislature passed a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags at grocery stores (Senate Bill 270). This marks the seventh attempt by environmentalists to pass a statewide bag ban.


California lawmakers passed a key hurdle Thursday in imposing the nation's first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags.


The state Assembly approved SB270 on a 44-29 vote after rejecting the bill earlier in the week. It now heads to the Senate, where it must be approved by Sunday and has support from top Democrats who rejected a similar effort last year. A vote is expected Friday.



The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors directed staff to begin crafting an ordinance for a countywide ban of single-use plastic bags during its Tuesday meeting.

After reviewing potential op­tions, the board told staff to draft the ordinance to include some of the same provisions of a statewide ban currently being considered by the state Legislature — Senate Bill 270. The decision was made after Assistant County Administrative Officer Cheryl Dillingham told the board that passing an original or­dinance might cause some confu­sion should the state bill pass in the near future.

Arcatans are estimated to use about four million single-use plastic bags annually. After last night, that number should drop dramatically. In a 5-0 decision, the city council decided to adopt a bag ordinance that prohibits those plastic carryout bags found at grocery stores and restaurants.

Listen to the KHUM interview with Alex Stillman and Jessica Hall on Arcata’s New Plastic Bag Ordinance


Ordinance up for final adoption in December



The Arcata City Council voted unanimously on Wednesday to approve an ordinance that would ban single-use plastic bags, but delay the 10-cent charge for paper bags for six months to allow time for a positive reusable bag campaign.

“I really think that this is the way we need to go,” Councilwoman Alex Still­man said. “I just think that we should just step up to the plate and make this hard call and see how it turns out.” Under the ordinance, which will be brought back at the next council meeting for final adoption, plastic bags would be prohibited at supermarkets, pharmacies, retail businesses and conven­ience food stores. Produce, meat, bulk, gift, donated and bags provided for prescrip­tion medications and those smaller than 625 cubic inches would be exempt.

A paper bag made of at least 40 percent post-consumer recyclable materials would be offered for 10 cents, and the money would be kept by the retailer. Participants in the California Special Sup­plemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children, and the Supple­mental Nutritional Assis­tance Program would be given a paper bag at no cost.

The ordinance was rein­troduced after staff made substantial changes based on feedback from merchants.

Many people spoke in favor of the ordinance and the fee on Wednesday.

“You could charge me 25 cents a bag, I really don’t care,” South Samoa resident Paul Patino said. “I’m shop­ping in Arcata. I appreciate the 10 cent bag charge. It will remind me that I’m wasting money by not bringing a bag. I totally support it.” Willow Sportswear owner Gordon Townsend spoke against the fee.

“What is being asked is that we, the business people, become the instruments of your will,” he said. “We’re the ones having to relate with customers.” Staff said the fee is neces­sary for legal reasons.

“The charge for a paper bag is a critical structure of this ordinance,” Environ­mental Services Director Mark Andre said. “It’s an essential part of the negative declaration, the CEQA doc­ument. We feel a charge has to be part of this to be resistant to legal challenges.” In a Nov. 19 letter to the council, the California Grocer’s Association wrote that it would like to see the plastic bag ban and charge be implemented on the same date.

“We are concerned the phased implementation of the charge on paper bags will require consumers to change habits twice — once from single-use plastic to single-use paper and a second time from single-use paper bags to reusable bag use,” wrote Timothy James, the manger for local govern­ment relations.“This double­change will be confusing for consumers and require extra effort for retailers.” If council approves the final adoption, the ordinance will take effect on Feb. 1, 2014, and the 10-cent mandatory fee will be imple­mented on Aug. 1, 2014.

The council will meet again on Dec. 4 for its regularly scheduled meeting.


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