Bill to ban single use plastic bags, tax paper bags in California approved by Senate committee; about 28% of state's population currently living in plastic-bag-free communities, Environment America says

SACRAMENTO, California , July 3, 2012 (press release) – A bill to ban single use plastic bags passed the Senate Environmental Quality Committee today and moved one step closer to the Governor’s desk. AB 298 (Brownley) would ban single use plastic bags and require a small fee on paper bags which would need to be made from recycled material. The vote was 4 to 2*. The bill is now scheduled to be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The following Senators voted yes to ban plastic bags- Simitian, Hancock, Kehoe, and Pavley and the following voted no- Strickland and Blakeslee

“Nothing we use for 5 minutes should end up polluting our environment for hundreds of years,” said Dan Jacobson, Legislative Director for Environment California. “This bill will reduce ocean pollution by reducing the amount of plastic that is ending up in our ocean.”

For the past two years cities and counties around California have voted to ban single use plastic bags. To date 49 cities are covered by plastic bag bans. For the latest list of bag bans, see http://www.cawrecycles.org/issues/plastic_campaign/plastic_bags/local

“Right now about 28% of the state’s population is living in plastic bag free communities”, said Jacobson. “We need a consistent policy that covers the whole state.”

Californians throw away 123,000 tons of plastic bags each year, and too many of them end up as litter in our ocean. Today, there are 100 million tons of trash in the North Pacific Gyre; in some parts of the Pacific, plastic outweighs plankton 6 to 1.

*There is still time for Senator Lowenthal to add his name to the “yes” votes.

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