The state of California has taken the first step towards banning free single-use grocery bags.
The state Assembly narrowly approved Assembly Bill 1998 that would make California the first state in the nation to ban single-use plastic and paper bags from being handed out at grocery stores, reports The San Francisco Chronicle. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.
The legislation will create a statewide standard for supermarkets, chain pharmacies and other large grocery retailers beginning Jan. 1, 2012, and at convenience stores, neighborhood markets and liquor stores beginning July 1, 2013, reports the California Grocers Association, which backs the bill.
Under the new legislation, stores will have to provide reusable bags for sale or free distribution and would pre-empt local ordinances that regulate bags at those retailers, according to Waste & Recycling News.
As an example, the city of San Francisco already has banned plastic bags altogether in favor of paper bags or reusable bags, reports American Recycler.
However, according to the article, a paper bag delivers a hidden tax because it costs five times more than its plastic counterpart, which is typically paid for by the consumer, and making paper bags produces about twice the greenhouse gas emissions as plastic
Read the full story at Environmental Leader