Ca­li­for­nians say fa­re­well to the plas­tic bag

Times of Suriname - - ENGELS -

USA - Ca­li­for­nians now fa­ce a new gro­cery-sto­re re­a­li­ty: No mo­re plas­tic bags. Vo­ters ap­pro­ved Pro­po­si­ti­on 67, the sta­te­wi­de ban on car­ry-out plas­tic bags, 52 per­cent to 48 per­cent. “It’s a vic­to­ry that Ca­li­for­nia vo­ters ha­ve said ‘no’ to big plas­tic,” said Mark Mur­ray, exe­cu­ti­ve di­rec­tor of Ca­li­for­nians Against Was­te. “The de­fen­se of this law by grass-roots en­vi­ron­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­ti­ons and com­mu­ni­ty groups is a re­al tes­ta­ment to this new era of mo­nied spe­ci­al in­te­rests not ha­ving their way.” The ban ta­kes ef­fect im­me­di­a­te­ly, which means gro­cery sto­res, re­tail sto­res with a phar­ma­cy, con­ve­nien­ce sto­res, food marts and li­quor sto­res will no lon­ger pro­vi­de sin­gle-use plas­tic car­ry-out bags to cus­to­mers. So, if you for­get to bring your own bag to the sto­re, be pre­pa­red to pay at least 10 cents for a re­cy­cled pa­per bag or reu­sa­ble al­ter­na­ti­ve. The plas­tic bag in­du­stry, lar­ge­ly com­pa­nies Hi­lex Po­ly and For­mo­sa Plas­tics, paid for Pro­po­si­ti­on 67 to qua­li­fy for the bal­lot as a re­fe­ren­dum to Se­na­te Bill 270. The law ban­ned sin­gle-use plas­tic bags and would ha­ve ta­ken ef­fect on Jan. 1, 2015. But the in­du­stry’s re­fe­ren­dum hal­ted the ban from go­ing in­to ef­fect un­til vo­ters weig­hed in at the polls. Af­ter the me­a­su­re land­ed on the bal­lot, plas­tic bag com­pa­nies lar­ge­ly stop­ped cam­paig­ning, which sug­gests the re­fe­ren­dum was sim­ply a ploy to post­po­ne the law and buy ti­me to sell mo­re bags. The in­du­stry has fier­ce­ly pro­tec­ted its pro­ducts across the coun­try, even en­cou­ra­ging le­gis­la­tors in sta­tes li­ke Wis­con­sin and In­di­a­na to pass laws pro­hi­bi­ting lo­cal ju­ris­dic­ti­ons from en­ac­ting their own bans. En­vi­ron­men­ta­lists and gro­cers led the win­ning pro-bag ban cam­paign with a fund­rai­sing pot of just $1.6 mil­li­on, com­pa­red to the in­du­stry’s $6.1 mil­li­on. The pro-ban cam­paign cast plas­tic bags as an eco­lo­gi­cal nuisan­ce that ul­ti­ma­te­ly end up in ri­vers, streams, oceans and other wa­ter­ways. Li­fe wit­hout the flim­sy car­ry-alls will be a chan­ge for most Sa­cra­men­to-area re­si­dents. On­ly a hand­ful of lo­cal ci­ties and coun­ties, in­clu­ding Sa­cra­men­to Coun­ty, the ci­ty of Sa­cra­men­to, Grass Val­ley and Da­vis, had al­rea­dy ban­ned bags by Elec­ti­on Day. The sta­te­wi­de ban sur­pri­sed shop­pers in com­mu­ni­ties that did not ha­ve a lo­cal or­di­nan­ce. Tas­ha Wil­son left a Sa­fe­way sto­re in Ro­se­vil­le ba­g­less on Thurs­day, in­stead car­rying three fro­zen piz­zas and a car­ton of ice cream in her arms. “I will not be paying 10 cents for a bag,” she said, ad­ding that she would bring her own bags.


Ca­li­for­nia vo­ters ha­ve said ‘no’ to big plas­tic. (Pho­to: get­ty­ima­ges)

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