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California groups unite to support plastic-bag ban

Representatives from business, labor and the environmental community joined California lawmakers Friday  to voice their support for legislation that would impose a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags at all supermarkets, convenience stores and liquor stores in the state.

A similar proposal fell short by three votes in the California Senate last year. The proposed bill would include language to address concerns about potential job losses at bag-manufacturing facilities.

Read more: Calif. plastic bag ban fails

According to Alex Padilla, the state senator who introduced the original legislation, "This bill strikes the right balance. It will not only protect the environment but it will also protect jobs as California transitions to reusable bags."

According to Ronald Fong, president and chief executive officer of the California Grocers Association, "We are graceful to [state legislators] for listening to the concerns of Californians and for bravely standing up for California. They have crafted a measure that will foster a market for innovation and enact consistent rules to protect cities, counties and businesses from the existing patchwork of compliance standards."


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Speaking on behalf of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Jim Araby, executive director of the UFCW's Western States Council, said the union supports the efforts to ban plastic bags "and re-invest [the] projected long-term savings in worker training programs and food safety initiatives for consumers."

The proposed bill would prohibit supermarkets from offering single-use plastic bags beginning July 15, 2015, with the bags prohibited in convenience and liquor stores one year later; require paper bags to include recycled content; and provide competitive loans and grants for conversion to reusable bag manufacturing on the condition that the workers are retained and retrained during the phase-out of single-use plastic bags.

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