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61 California Officials Unite in Support of Comprehensive Plastic Bag Ban


BEYOND PLASTIC - May 21, 2024

In a unified effort to combat plastic pollution, 61 city and county officials from across California have signed a letter urging the state legislature to pass SB 1053 and AB 2236. These bills aim to close loopholes in the current plastic bag regulations, which have led to continued environmental harm despite previous legislative efforts.

California pioneered plastic bag regulation in 2014 with SB 270, mandating that plastic bags in grocery and retail stores be reusable. However, this has not led to a significant reduction in plastic waste. Investigations revealed that many of these thicker plastic bags, classified as high-density polyethylene (HDPE), are still ending up in landfills. Reports indicate that over 5 billion such bags were landfilled in 2021, a sharp increase from previous years.

The proposed bills, SB 1053 and AB 2236, seek to eliminate exemptions that allow the continued use of these thicker plastic bags. They also aim to set higher standards for reusable bags and ensure that paper bags contain at least 50% post-consumer recycled materials. This legislative push is motivated by the environmental and health risks posed by plastic pollution, including soil and water contamination and harm to marine life.

The letter highlights the financial and logistical burdens local governments face in managing plastic waste, exacerbated by the lack of recycling options for HDPE bags. Signatories from various municipalities, including mayors, councilmembers, and supervisors, emphasize the necessity of stronger regulations to foster a sustainable future.

Prominent signatories include:

  • Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft, Mayor of Alameda

  • Lena Tam, District 3 Supervisor of Alameda County

  • Paula Perotte, Mayor of Goleta

  • Das Williams, 1st District Supervisor of Santa Barbara County

  • James Coleman, Mayor of South San Francisco

These officials underscore the urgent need for legislative action to mitigate the adverse effects of plastic waste on California's environment and public health.

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