SACRAMENTO, CA - Paper or plastic? That is the question you are often asked when checking out at the grocery store register. But if one lawmaker has his way, there will only be one answer in California: Reusable plastic.
Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael, has introduced AB 158, calling for a statewide plastic bag ban.
If it becomes law, most grocery retailers would not be able to continue using those thin plastic bags that have always been an option.
The measure would take effect in 2015. The bill states any grocery stores that generate more than $2 million in sales every year or retailers with more than 10,000 feet of floor space would have to follow the ban.
According to Levine, plastic bags have a big impact on the environment, accounting for about 10 percent of ocean debris.
The ban would be implemented in phases, giving retailers time to adapt. Starting in 2015, for 18 months, the affected retailers could offer paper bags made of recyclable materials or reusable plastic bags for customers to bag their groceries. Then once the 18 months are up, those retailers would have to provide only reusable plastic bags.
At many stores now, customers can opt for reusable plastic bags, but you are charged extra for them.