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California Set to Ban Plastic Bags
August 31, 2014

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Plastic grocery bags will be banned in the entirety of California, if that state's governor, Jerry Brown, signs into law a bill passed by both houses of the state legislature.

Brown has until September 30 to sign the bill, which would prohibit grocery stores from sending customers away with single-use plastic bags. The bill would also set aside money for plastic bag manufacturers, to help with a transition to multiple-use bags. Such bags have increased in popularity in recent years, but a large number of plastic bags still are handed out by grocery stores across California and, indeed, across the world.

A California advocacy group estimated that in their state alone, the number of disposable plastic bags used each year topped 10 billion.

The statewide bill mirrors other bills passed by cities and counties in California. Other cities and states across the country have enacted similar measures. If Brown signs the bill, however, California would become the first state in the U.S. to enact such a ban statewide.

The California Assembly initially did not pass the bill. Late changes that were supported by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, however, secured passage a second time, and it was that bill that was also passed by the California Senate. Brown has yet to comment publicly on whether he will sign the bill.

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