Californians celebrate our law to stop plastic pollution
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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, email@example.com 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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=80dDEg-VndI
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 http://twitter.com/SenatorDeLeon or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/SenatorDeLeon.
Press Secretary/Legislative Aide
Office of Senator Kevin de Leόn
22nd Senate District
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.
LATINO COALITION FOR A CALIFORNIA BAG BAN
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
L.A. County Supervisor
Hector de la Torre
California Air Resources Board Member*
Executive Director, National Hispanic
Executive Director, Communities for New
President, William C. Velasquez Institute
L.A. River Revitalization Corporation Board
Chair, Alliance of River Communities, Los
Sierra Club My Generation Campaign,
Citizens Committee to Save Elysian Park
Mujeres de la Tierra
Director, YMCA, East Los Angeles*
Executive Director, Presente
Neighborhood Council Member, L.A.
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.