Sponsored By

As the New Year rolls in, so does an upcoming ordinance for Sacramento, CA, which bans the use of single-use plastic bags at grocery stores, large pharmacies and convenience stores within city limits. The city ordinance goes into effect even as a statewide ban on the bags is still on the backburner pending the outcome of a referendum in November. Customers who forget will have the option of buying recycled paper bags for 10 cents each.

Kari Embree

December 28, 2015

2 Min Read
Sacramento says goodbye to plastic bags in 2016

As the New Year rolls in, so does an upcoming ordinance for Sacramento, CA, which bans the use of single-use plastic bags at grocery stores, large pharmacies and convenience stores within city limits. The city ordinance goes into effect even as a statewide ban on the bags is still on the backburner pending the outcome of a referendum in November. Customers who forget will have the option of buying recycled paper bags for 10 cents each.

plasticbagban.jpgLast year, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill called SB 270 banning plastic bags statewide starting in July, however, plastic and chemical manufacturers from five states, including Texas, New Jersey and South Carolina, have delayed statewide plastic bag ban by qualifying a referendum for the November 2016 ballot asking voters to reverse the law after raising more than $3 million.

“SB 270 was never a bill about the environment. It was a backroom deal between the California Grocers Association and their union friends to scam consumers out of billions of dollars in bag fees—all under the guise of environmentalism,” said Lee Califf, Executive Director of the American Progressive Bag Alliance, a plastics industry trade group. “California voters will now have the chance to vote down a terrible law that, if implemented, would kill 2,000 local manufacturing jobs and funnel obscene profits to big grocers without any money going to a public purpose or environmental initiative.”

In a report from Sacramento city staff, the city accepts single-use plastic bags in the curbside recycling program, but handling these bags at the recycling center is cumbersome. The bags clog and slow sorting machines. On average, the processor must shut down its sorting machinery six times per day to remove tangled bags, which increases the processing cost for commingled recyclables.

By enacting this chapter, the city intends to mitigate the negative environmental and public health impacts resulting from single-use plastic bags, reduce litter and visual blight caused by plastic bags, and minimize the cost and inconvenience of handling single-use plastic bags at local recycling centers.

According to Californians Against Waste, a Sacramento-based environmental advocacy organization, California uses between 13 and 20 billion of these bags every year, but only 5% are recycled.

California cities and counties spend an estimated $428 million annually to clean up litter and prevent marine pollution. Plastics bags contribute $34 million to $107 million to these costs, based on litter data in San Jose and LA County.

Right now more than one-third of Californians live in a city with no single-use plastic grocery bags, totaling 145 cities and counties overall.

Sign up for the PlasticsToday NewsFeed newsletter.

You May Also Like