Progress: Nearly Half of California's Population Can't Use Single-Use Plastic Bags

On July 1, Sacramento County became the 149th jurisdiction in California to implement a plastic bag ban. This was the same day that was supposed to be the start date of the statewide plastic bag ban. The ban has been delayed by out-of-state plastic bag manufacturers, and will now be in the hands of California voters in November.

With Sacramento County’s implementation, more than 45 percent of the state’s population is now covered by a plastic bag ban. If, in the November election, voters uphold Senate Bill 270, the state law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2014, a statewide ban will go into effect immediately.

The referendum, which is being challenged by out-of-state plastic bag manufacturers, will be the last item on the statewide ballot. A "Yes" vote will uphold the law banning single-use plastic bags.

“Plastic bags kill marine wildlife, clutter our landscapes, destroy recycling equipment, and cost taxpayers hundreds of millions in cleanup costs,” said Jenesse Miller of California League of Conservation Voters. “Californians won’t be fooled by the deceptive campaign the plastic bag corporations are waging in an attempt to protect their profits.”

Four plastic bag corporations are leading an effort to overturn the law, with 99 percent of their nearly $6 million in contributions coming from out of state. South Carolina-based Hilex Poly leads the effort with $2,777,269 in contributions. Formosa Plastics, whose parent company is based in Taiwan, is second with $1,148,442. Two Texas companies, Superbag ($945,719) and Advanced Polybag ($939,333) are also leading contributors.

“More than 12 billion plastic bags are thrown into the trash every year in California,” notes Mark Murray of Californians Against Waste. “We are confident that voters will stand up to the out-of-state plastic bag corporations that are trying to hijack a law widely favored by California citizens, passed by the Legislature, and signed by the Governor.”

Independent polling shows the plastic bag ban is supported by a nearly 2 to 1 margin among the state’s registered voters.

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