Californians celebrate our law to stop plastic pollution

Out-of-state polluters besieging us, beware. 

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Mercury News: Strong grassroots support for bag ban validates accomplishment for taxpayers, environment 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, August 29, 2014

CONTACT: Claire Conlon, or (916) 651-4022


Legislature Votes to Ban Single-Use Plastic Bags

SB 270 heads to the Governor

SACRAMENTO – Senate Bill 270 (Padilla-De León-Lara) has passed both houses of the California State Legislature. The final Senate vote was 22-15.

“In crafting this compromise, it was imperative to me that we achieve the goals of doing away with single-use plastic bags, help change consumer behavior, and importantly, support and expand California jobs,” said Senate President pro Tempore-elect Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles). “SB 270 is a win-win for the environment and for California workers.”

“We applaud Senator De León for crafting solutions that balance efforts to clean the environment with the daily needs of family survival,” said Irma Muñoz, Executive Director of Mujeres de la Tierra. “We’re thrilled to support SB 270 which protects the environment and supports California manufacturing jobs.”

In 2013, Senator De León did not support bag ban legislation due to unaddressed policy concerns regarding the adverse impact on California workers. Last Fall, Senator De León worked with industry and environmentalists to craft a solution that worked for all in SB 270.

This legislation will implement a ban on single-use plastic grocery bags while promoting recycling and California manufacturing, and provides financial incentives to maintain and retrain California employees in affected industries.

“SB 270 creates a pathway toward a reusable bag culture in California. Forward thinking plastic bag manufacturers have the opportunity to grow jobs and manufacture environmentally sustainable products. Command Packaging has already begun diverting plastic from landfills and producing reusable bags right here in California. SB 270 enables this recycling and reusable bag culture to develop without penalizing businesses or consumers in the state,” said Pete Grande, CEO of Command Packaging. 

Senate Bill 270 will institute a plastic bag ban beginning in 2015 for grocery store carry-out bags and create a mandatory minimum ten cent fee for recycled paper, reusable plastic and compostable bags.  The measure will also provide financial incentives for worker retraining and company retooling.

Specifically, Senate Bill 270 will:

  • Ramp up the use of recycled content for reusable plastic bags to promote recycling and California manufacturing.  In 2016, bags will be required to have 20 % recycled content and in 2020 be made of 40% recycled content. 
  • Support recycling of agriculture plastic film which is currently sent to landfills.
  • Require large grocery store chains to take back used bags for continued recycling.
  • Require third party certification of reusable plastic bags to ensure compliance with bag standards which support California manufacturing.
  • Grandfathers existing local ordinances related to grocery bags.

SB 270 is supported by a large coalition of organizations including: California Coastal Coalition, California League of Conservation Voters, California Retailers Association, Californians Against Waste, Don't Waste LA, Environment California, Global Green USA, Latino Coalition for a California Bag Ban, Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, Natural Resources Defense Council, Planning and Conservation League, Sierra Club California, and Silicon Valley Leadership Group.


 Press conference from the bill introduction:


Senator Kevin de León represents the 22nd District including all or parts of the City of Los Angeles, Alhambra, East Los Angeles, Florence-Graham, Maywood, San Marino, South Pasadena, Vernon, and Walnut Park.  He is the Senate Appropriations Chair and is a member of the following committees: Energy, Utilities and Communications; Governmental Organization; Health and Public Safety. Follow the Senator on Twitter at or on Facebook at


Claire Conlon

Press Secretary/Legislative Aide

Office of Senator Kevin de Leόn

22nd Senate District

(916) 651-4022



Yes on SB 270 Coalition Hails CA Assembly Historic Passage of SB 270

The Yes on SB 270 Coalition hailed the California Assembly’s historic approval today of Senate Bill (SB) 270, moving California one step closer to a landmark law banning single-use plastic carryout bags statewide. SB 270 (Padilla, de Leon, Lara) is supported by dozens of groups representing a spectrum of sectors, including environment, organized labor, business organizations, grocers, retailers, poverty rights organizations, Latino leaders, waste management firms, local governments and others.
“Today California is one step closer to making history by becoming the first state in the nation to ban single-use plastic carryout bags statewide. If this bill become law, California will continue its storied legacy as a global leader in bold, game-changing policies to help create a better planet for future generations," said Ronald Fong, President and CEO, California Grocers Association.

More than 100 cities and counties in California, including our largest metropolitan areas, have deliberated, studied, scrutinized, and, ultimately approved bans on single-use carryout plastic bags. Thousands of other jurisdictions worldwide have done the same. SB 270 will bring uniformity to California, while further reducing the use of plastic bags that litter streets, clog waterways, endanger animals and natural resources and cost taxpayers.

"Nearly one-third of Californians already live in communities that have banned these bags. It is time for our state to step up and usher in a new era of reusable bags as the norm rather than the exception.," said Marce Gutiérrez and Héctor Huezo, co-chairs of the Latino Coalition for a California Bag Ban. "SB 270 will foster innovation, create homegrown jobs, safeguard businesses and protect California’s treasured natural resources. We are grateful to Sens. Padilla, de Leon and Lara for listening to the concerns of Californians and for bravely standing up for economic justice and environmental common sense."

Said Mark Murray, Executive Director, Californians Against Waste  "SB 270 is a tried-and-true policy which brings a broad base of support. By eliminating single-use plastic carryout grocery bags, consumer behavior shifts as shoppers make a habit of using reusable bags."
Should consumers forget their reusable bags or need an extra bag at checkout, recycled paper bags are available for a 10-cent charge. Amendments to SB 270 ensure that those on food assistance programs are not subject to the 10-cent charge and to ensure that monies generated from the 10-cent charge stay local to be used for cost recovery and consumer education on reusable bag use.  

# # #




August 21, 2014    


Dear Member of the State Assembly:    


We write once more to express our unconditional support for SB  270 to ban statewide polluting    

single-­‐use plastic bags. We urge your vote in favor of this important bill, in the Appropriations    

Committee and on the Assembly floor. Its passage would significantly curtail a costly scourge in our    

neighborhoods, parks, roads, rivers, and ocean that also burdens our children and future generations:    

pollution from single-­‐use plastic bags, which is preventable.    


Passing SB 270 would build on similar policies in more than 100 municipalities throughout California    

that have dramatically reduced their litter and waste problems from plastic bags. Still, more than 10   

billion single-­‐use bags get discarded each year throughout California. Approving SB 270 will also hasten    

our shift to reusable bags and strengthen the growing industry and workforce in making reusable bags

here in California. As low- to moderate to low income taxpayers, we pay many times for single

use plastic bags, especially in efforts to control and clean up bags in the waste stream. 


As an example, the Los Angeles County Public Works estimates that most consumers pay approximately $20    

per year at the counter in grocery stores in hidden costs to subsidize plastic bags. The L.A. County Flood    

Control District spends more than $18 million annually for overall litter prevention and cleanup efforts.    

The Natural Resources Defense Council found in 2013 that local governments in California spend nearly    

$500 million to catch and collect plastic bags and other trash entering our arroyos, rivers, lakes, and    

ocean. Because plastic bags make up as much as 25 percent of the litter stream by weight, they are    

disproportionately responsible for these costs.    


Once in our oceans, plastic bags break down into smaller pieces without fully biodegrading, and they    

absorb other pollutants such as PCBs and PAHs. Ingested by marine animals and fish, they enter    

our food chain.  Single-­‐use plastic bags are a deviation from the Latino community’s longstanding

tradition of reusable shopping bags. The passage of SB 270 will also be a major step towards reversing    

throwaway consumption, widely promoted by plastics and packaging fabricators and their lobbyists.    


Since 2007, the state has failed badly in  efforts to recycle plastic bags, with less than 3 percent getting    

collected. That  same year, a landmark study also appeared indicating that dumping represents a particular    

burden on Latino communities in our state, with Latinos facing heightened exposure to waste and    

contaminants. We strongly urge lawmakers to honor  our Latino community’s longstanding    

tradition of conservation and our interest in a sustainable economy and ending pollution by    

voting to approve SB270.    


SB270 takes a poorly designed and polluting bag out of the marketplace and our watersheds. It gives the    

people of California the choice to pay for a bag or not. Currently, as consumers and taxpayers, we pay    

regardless of our usage. Single-­use bags are not free, and continuing to saddle taxpayers    

with the costly burdens associated with them is fiscally irresponsible. SB270 also creates a    

uniform statewide policy on the issue, instead of sustaining a  legal patchwork.        


California is a national leader in green jobs. There are at  least 15 reusable bag companies based in our    

state that distribute on a national or global scale. Many other countries have already banned single-­‐use    

bags,    from    Italy    to Rwanda to Bangladesh, so California is playing catch-­up in that regard. But    

California businesses are well poised to benefit from a statewide ban on single-­‐use plastic bags and, as    

more states and nations follow the lead of our state, to    create jobs here at an accelerated rate.    


SB270 offers California Democrats, in particular, the opportunity to make good on our party’s resolution    

supporting a statewide ban. We urge you to vote yes to approve SB 270 in the Appropriations    

Committee and on the Assembly floor.        




Hector  Huezo                                                                                Marce  Gutiérrez    

Chair,  Alliance  of  River  Communities,                                                            Director,  Azul

Los  Angeles                                                                                                   ph  650-260-4290                                                                                            

ph  562-485-7329                                                                                           




Gloria  Molina

L.A.  County  Supervisor

Honorary  Chair


Hector  de  la  Torre

California  Air  Resources  Board  Member*


Marce  Gutiérrez

Director,  Azul


Roger  Rivera

Executive  Director,  National  Hispanic

Environmental  Council


Pablo  RodrÍguez

Executive  Director,  Communities  for  New



Antonio  González

President,  William  C.  Velasquez  Institute


Dennis  Martínez

L.A.  River  Revitalization  Corporation  Board



Hector  Huezo

Chair,  Alliance  of  River  Communities,  Los



Aura  Vásquez

Sierra  Club  My  Generation  Campaign,

Strategic  Partnerships


Danny  Muñoz

Citizens  Committee  to  Save  Elysian  Park

Board  Member*


Carlos  Zegarra

Director,  Sachamama


Irma  Muñoz

Mujeres  de  la  Tierra


Juan  Llamas

Director,  YMCA,  East  Los  Angeles*


Antonio  Castillo

Urban  Planner


Arturo  Carmona

Executive  Director,  Presente


Andrew  Montealegre

Neighborhood  Council  Member,  L.A.

Allen  Hernández


Regional  Director,  My  Generation,  Sierra


*  title  for  identification  only




Below is a video of the Latino community supporting the ban on plastic bags. Watch Irma Muñoz, President/Founder of Mujeres de la Tierra discuss the ban on plastic bags.


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