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California Votes on Plastic Grocery Bag Props

Californians have voted in favor of Proposition 67, which upholds a statewide ban prohibiting stores from giving away single-use plastic carryout bags. The bag ban remains the first of its kind in the nation.

In related legislation, Golden State voters rejected Proposition 65, which proposed to create an environmental fund with proceeds from a 10-cent charge for non-plastic retail carryout bags to support environmental programs in the form of grants administered by the California Wildlife Conservation Board.

Following the passage of Proposition 67 and the defeat of Proposition 65, the California Grocers Association (CGA) President and CEO Ron Fong issued the following statement:

“The passage of Prop. 67 is a win for both business and the environment. California’s grocers have been proud to stand with Senators Kevin DeLeon, Ricardo Lara, and Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who authored the groundbreaking SB 270, which banned the use of single-use plastic bags in California. We are pleased that California voters saw through the smokescreen of out-of-state interests and upheld this important law.”

While California grocers may see the passage of Proposition 67 as a win-win, the opposition says it upholds flawed legislation.

“With the narrow approval of Proposition 67 California voters have unfortunately set themselves up for a serious case of buyer’s remorse,” said Lee Califf, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based American Progressive Bag Alliance (APBA). “Plastic bag bans don’t meaningfully reduce overall waste or litter or provide a positive environmental impact, but they do threaten tens of thousands of American manufacturing jobs, hit consumers in the wallet and drive people to use less environmentally friendly carryout options.”

While Califf expressed the APBA’s disappointment in the narrow passage of Prop. 67, he added that the Alliance is “even more disappointed” that voters said ‘no’ to Prop. 65. “Now, instead of bag fees going to an environmental fund, grocers will keep hundreds of millions of dollars in new profits without providing any public benefit,” Califf stated.

The American Progressive Bag Alliance was founded in 2005 to represent the United States' plastic bag manufacturing and recycling sector. It supported a Project of the Society of the Plastics Industry — Yes on 65 and No on 67 — with committee contributors, including Hilex Poly Co., Formosa Plastics Corp. U.S.A., Advance Polybag Inc., and Superbag Corp.

According to The Mercury News, part of the Bay Area News Group, the plastic grocery bag companies spent some $5 million to place the two measures on the ballot.

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