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Assemblywoman Rebecca Bauer-Kahan. (Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Two New CA Bills Unveiled to Ban All Plastic Bags From Supermarkets

‘We are literally choking our planet with plastic waste’

By Evan Symon, February 8, 2024 5:11 pm

Two new bills that would ban all plastic bags from grocery stores and other stores were unveiled on Thursday, potentially marking the complete end of all plastic bags in stores.

Assembly Bill 2236 and Senate Bill 1053, authored by Assemblywoman Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda) and Senator Catherine Blakespear (D-Encinitas) respectively, would remove the option to have any kind of plastic bag at food stores and convenience stores. Both bills would act as an expansion of SB 270, a 2014 bill that was ultimately approved of by voters in 2016 as Proposition 67, which had banned all one time use plastic bags and only allowed thicker plastic bags to be purchased in stores.

Sen. Catherine Blakespear. (Photo: sd38.senate.ca.gov)

Both Assemblywoman Bauer-Kahan and Senator Blakespear wrote their bills due in large part because of how studies found that most Californians were either not recycling those bags or were still using the thicker bags as one time only bags, despite being designed to be used multiple times. According to one state study cited by Blakespear, the amount of plastic shopping bags trashed per person grew from 8 pounds per year in 2014 to 11 pounds per year in 2021, despite the massive law change. Both also acknowledged how plastic bags were still causing environmental damage, and that a total ban was the only way to stop it. Some coastal cleanup surveys also found that volunteers have collected over 300,000 plastic grocery bags in the last three decades.

“If you have been paying attention – if you read the news at all in recent years – you know we are choking our planet with plastic waste,” said Senator Blakespear at a press conference on Thursday. “A plastic bag has an average lifespan of 12 minutes and then it is discarded, often clogging sewage drains, contaminating our drinking water and degenerating into toxic microplastics that fester in our oceans and landfills for up to 1,000 years. It’s time to improve on California’s original plastic bags ban and do it right this time by completely eliminating plastic bags from being used at grocery stores.

“[Studies show] that the plastic bag ban that we passed in this state in 2014 did not reduce the overall use of plastic. It actually resulted in a substantial increase in plastic. We are literally choking our planet with plastic waste.”

Bauer-Kahan added, “Ten years ago, California attempted to ban plastic bags to stem pollution. Yet, these insidious relics persist, choking our waterways, imperiling wildlife, and despoiling our ecosystems. AB 2236 and SB 1053 are our battle cry against plastic pollution. With tougher rules and a push for eco-friendly alternatives, we’re ready to kick plastic bags to the curb and reclaim our environment.”

In addition to the backing of many environmental groups and grocery store organizations including the California Grocers Association, many Senator and Assembly members gave the bill their backing on Thursday. Experts told the Globe on Thursday that the bill was likely to pass later this year, and Governor Gavin Newsom would sign the bill. As Mayor of San Francisco in 2007, then Mayor Newsom signed the first city-wide plastic bag ban in the nation. As he has continued to show approval towards such bans, him signing a bill would be likely.

“Around half of California still has these thicker plastic bags at food stores and places like that, as many local laws already have a total ban in place,” Ellie Bridger, an environmental scientist who helps advise on some political campaigns, told the Globe. “Oh, and that study finding that more plastic bags were taken in 2021? That study is a bit skewed, since that was a pandemic year and plastic bags and other plastic things were kind of relaxed because of their need in things like shopping and food delivery. So there was a big bump up in the discarding of them, especially since not many people were going outside for cleanup efforts and trash services became spotty. There’s always a bigger story to these studies.”

“But, skewed studies aside, a lot of people are having problems with them because of environmental reasons. A lot of people just have not stopped using them, largely out of convenience. But if this bill passes, you’ll either have to bring your own bags to stores, or buy paper ones there. You know, there was a huge effort to not use paper bags several decades ago because of how many trees they  cut down for them, but because of the extent of recycling now, they are now the best option for people too lazy to bring some tote bags with them.”

“Upside to this bill is a better environment. However, without a plastic bag option, we are going to see a lot of consumers get a bit angry over being forced to use paper or ones they brought. As long as the bills give some leeway and give plenty of notice before the switch, most people will likely tolerate it, as a lot of people already just bring their own bags with them. But we’ll see just what the backlash is later this year. We saw big backlash over this in 2014 and 2016. Remember, Prop 67 only passed with a 53% of the vote, and that was for a partial ban. Reaction to a total ban could be a lot worse.”

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19 thoughts on “Two New CA Bills Unveiled to Ban All Plastic Bags From Supermarkets

  1. Am I the only one who is getting sick and tired of these damn democrats telling me what I am allowed to use.
    Why don’t they start by cleaning up the vagrants on the street and their filth!

    1. Nope, right there with you.
      Maybe they should look at their own recycling policies.
      Most of our plastic waste gets shipped to China to be “recycled”. It ends up in the ocean to choke out people like Sen. Blackspear! So ridiculous.
      First they came for the paper bags then they came for plastic. I personally prefer paper because it biodegrades!

  2. Oh, but MY stupid town wants garbage peelings and whatnot WRAPPED IN A PLASTIC BAG and placed in the garden clippings bin, which makes no sense, so it can be mulch-piled and attract hordes of rodents (I don’t believe the city is actually processing this stuff into mulch anyway; more likely it’s more virtue-signaling nonsense), so WHICH IS IT, Dear Legislators? So it looks like we’ll be buying plastic bags to fulfill your Pretend Green Dream anyway, right? It’s the LAW, right?
    Man! These people are so utterly pointless and time-consuming.
    Looks like Asm Rebecca Bauer-Kahn has a Repub challenger in District 16 in the primary this year — Joseph Rubay. Seems like a perfectly reasonable guy. Family man, small business owner, sensible positions, pro-law enforcement. Might want to consider voting for him. Who knows, it’s worth a shot if there is the slightest possibility of getting rid of Bauer-Kahn. Or even of annoying her. Check him out: https://joerubay.nationbuilder.com/
    Unfortunately Sens Blakespear’s and Ben Allen’s terms don’t expire till 2026. Save the Date.

    1. Showandtell, MY stupid community wants everyone to put their wet kitchen refuse (read rotten meat) in their green “recycle” bins and Not put the mess in any plastic bags. That’s right. Dump your kitchen waste directly into the bins. Local raccoons,skunks, rats, mice, opossums, wasps, yellow jackets, ants, cockroaches and other assorted vermin all supported this requirement. Sorry, but I ain’t doing it. Nope.

      1. You’re not kidding, are you, Fed Up. THAT is beyond disgusting. Also irrational, of course, and attractive to every scavenging animal as you mentioned, which scavengers by the way are all prevalent in my neck of the woods, too. Blah! Have these people completely lost their minds?
        I’m with you one thousand percent that NO! — I’m not doing it, not playing their game, not running out to the curb with rotten meat & etc on Trash Day or Trash Day Eve either, and no one, NO ONE, can make me.

  3. Outlaw gasoline cars, outlaw diesel trucks, out law plastic bags, out law this, outlaw that. Am I supposed to carry my deli meat home in my pocket? Or a dozen oranges? Bulk candy? BTW, remember the straws? It became “one trip or two. Your choice if you want a tip.” We won that one. We just stopped buying $3.50 drinks that cost the restaurant a dime.
    Like everything else in the democrat world, both locally and nationally, the nanny state is trying to see just how much degradation we will accept from our ignorant leadership until we crack.
    BTW: 12 x 20″ “T Shirt” plastic (thin type) bags are $20 per 500 on Chinazon.

    1. What I can’t tell from this article is whether the legislation also bans the thin plastic bags used to bag produce. Grocery stores have automatic sprinklers that spray their vegetables on a daily basis (a pet peeve.) Are we supposed to put wet produce in a paper or cloth bag? Yuck!

      1. “Yuck” yeah! The yuckier the better in their minds, whatever it is.
        We’d probably get those produce bags like Trader Joe’s has that give bad goosebumps because they feel like skin and break wide open when you put more than two apples in them. Ughh.
        But they are probably not gunning for those bags anyway. Wacky and inconsistent, as usual. Apparently the main goal is to annoy us. Bonus point for Bauer-Kahn drawing attention to herself from her “base.” Who knows, she might even be feeling the heat from her Repub challenger Joseph Rubay on this go-round in the current “fed-up” environment.

  4. These Dumbocraps don’t have anything better to do? This state and country have a lot of pressing problems that need to be addressed (many of them created by the Dems) and they have to to save us from plastic bags. I believe these jerks sit around (like the Wieeeeennnnnneeeeeeerrrrrrr) and think of the most stupid and idiotic laws. If I lived in that district I would vote for Joseph Rubay.

  5. Assemblywoman Rebecca Bauer-Kahan is another radical leftist lawyer and a member of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus who didn’t issue a peep when pro-Hamas thugs stormed the California State Capitol and shut down the Assembly session. Instead she wants to ban plastic bags. It’s something that the oppressively corrupt Kahzarian mafia would do?

    Democrat Sen. Catherine Blakespear is another radical leftist lawyer who grew up privileged and pampered in the upscale beach community of Encinitas which has been repeatedly sued over policies that aimed at undermining state affordable housing laws. Living in a large mansion on a six acre estate in Encinitas, no doubt Blakespear has household help that does the shopping for her and she hasn’t had to schlep any grocery bags for years? She’s another wealthy coastal Democrat who is completely out of touch with the struggles of average Californians?

  6. Just wait until these morons find out that paper bags are made from trees. Then again in their ideal world there would be no need for grocery bags because there would be no food.

    1. CW your comment brought to mind that it seems we used to quote Thomas Sowell in response to this stuff: “There are no solutions, there are only tradeoffs.” But now we know these people don’t even WANT solutions. And they are not “environmentalists” either. They just want to blight and fallow everything and burn it all down.

  7. “Ze bugs” don’t require as many bags as we’re accustomed to….
    These nimrod broads are just following their WEF marching orders…

  8. So they tricked us into wanting the thicker multiuse bags (that only last for a couple of times) that were supposed many times. These thicker bags don’t decompose as fast as the thin bags did. These provides excess plastic in the environment. We need to go back to the thin bags that decompose. Also some places require plastic bags for food waste. Where are those coming from? DemonRats are corrupt dictators that need to be removed from public discourse.

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