California state legislators are considering a bill that will ban all plastic shopping bags by 2026, reports the Associated Press.
Thin plastic bags are already banned, but shoppers still have the option to buy thicker plastic bags at grocery stores. Assembly Bill 2236 and Senate Bill 1053 would pull all of them. The California Grocers Association supports the move.
Some lawmakers are saying people are simply throwing away the heavier bags rather than recycling them. State Sen. Catherine Blakespear referred to a state study that found shoppers were trashing plastic bags in the amount of 11 pounds per person annually in 2021, up from eight pounds in 2004.
“Ten years ago, California attempted to ban plastic bags to stem pollution,” said Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan. “Yet, those 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.”
Twelve states, including California, have some kind of law in place banning plastic bags, as do cities in 28 states.
California passed its first plastic bag ban in 2014, and current Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the nation’s first plastic bag ban when he was mayor of San Francisco in 2007.
On the retailer side, Wegmans put a stop to single-use plastic bags in 2022, but shoppers could purchase paper bags. Aldi removed all plastic bags from stores at the end of last year.