Well, that sucks.
The Democratic bill seeking to ban plastic shopping bags across California — a measure we at SHFT adamantly supported — failed in the state Senate late Tuesday night. It would have been the country's first statewide ban, although a few California cities already prohibit their use.
With the bill's downfall, the state misses an opportunity to be at the vanguard of a global movement against plastic bag pollution. California residents use 19 billion plastic bags every year, causing untold environmental harm and costing the state an estimated $25 million annually to collect and transport to landfills.
The bill, AB1998, received 14 votes, with 20 opposed. The opposition was backed by the American Chemistry Council, a Virginia-based plastics industry group that spent millions in lobbying fees, radio ads and even a prime-time television ad attacking the measure.
But the setback won't stop the movement to ban plastic bags. Several local government officials in California have already said they will pursue city- and countywide bans in the coming months.
The bill's author, Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, said, "It's not a matter of if, but a matter of when consumers bring their own bags and become good stewards of the environment."
Photo: Michael Giambra, SHFT PSA Director of Photography