By The Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Portland Press Herald op-ed
Last week, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill to make California the first state to ban single-use plastic bags at supermarkets and pharmacies beginning in July 2015, although it does not apply to bags used for fruits, vegetables or meats. The prohibition will extend to convenience stores, liquor outlets and small food stores in July 2016
This is not lost on plastic bag manufacturers. The American Progressive Bag Alliance, an industry coalition, is warning of dire job losses and promises to seek a voter referendum to overturn the ban. Paper bag manufacturers also oppose it because grocers have to charge a 10 cent fee for their product.
But there’s a good reason for the ban. Plastic bags used for groceries are a major source of pollution, both on land and on the sea, where they are a threat to marine life.
The environmental benefit to replacing plastic bags in supermarkets is widely acknowledged. This is why many stores already urge shoppers to bring their own reusable bags, which is the real intent of the California law.
It is not much to ask of a responsible citizenry. Before this bill passed in Sacramento, dozens of municipal governments had passed their own bans, It seems that the more scenic a place is – Carmel, California, or Nantucket Island, Massachusetts – the more people understand the environmental benefit of such a ban.