Prop 67: California Plastic Ban Veto Referendum

Oct 5, 2016 (San Diego) When the state legislature passed Senate Bill 270. This banned plastic bags in the state used by large grocery store and pharmacy chains. This would start in 2020, while small stores would be required to do so in 2021.

The proposal reads as follows:

Existing law, until2020, requires an operator of a store, as defined, to establish an at-store recycling program that provides to customers the opportunity to return clean plastic carryout bags
to that store.
This bill, as of July 1, 2015, would prohibit stores that have a
specified amount of sales in dollars or retail floor space from providing a single-use carryout bag to a customer, with specified exceptions. The bill would also prohibit those stores from selling or distributing a recycled paper bag at the point of sale unless the store makes that bag available for purchase for not less than $0.1 0.

The bill would also allow those stores, on or after July 1, 2015, to distribute compostable bags at the point o f sale only in jurisdictions that meet specified requirements and at a cost of not less than $0.10. The bill would require these stores to meet other specified requirements on and after July 1, 2015, regarding providing reusable grocery bags to customers, including distributing those bags only at a cost ofnot less than $0.10. The bill would require all moneys collected pursuant to these provisions to be retained by the store and be used only for specified purposes.
The bill, on and after July 1, 2016, would additionally impose these prohibitions and requirements on convenience food stores, foodmarts, and entities engaged in the sale of a limited line of goods, or goods intended to be consumed off premises, and that hold a specified license with regard to alcoholic beverages.

The bill would allow a retail establishment to voluntarily comply with these requirements, if the retail establishment provides the department with irrevocable written notice. The bill would require the department to post on its Internet Web site, organized by county, the name and physical location o f each retail establishment that has elected to comply with these requirements.

There are costs for compliance and stores will be able to charge 10 cents for paper or recyclable plastic bags. Prop 67 would allow:

  •  To cover costs associated with complying with Proposition 67.
  • To cover the costs of providing the recycled paper or reusable bags.
  • To provide educational materials encouraging the use of reusable bags.

A competing proposal, 65, would direct the funds to the Environmemtal Protection and Enhancement fund. If either pssses, those funding provisions will go that way. If both pass, the one with the most votes will prevail. Prop 65 is backed by the American Ptogressive Bag Alliance, which is also handling the no campaign on 67.

Both Governor Edmund Brown and the Democratic Party are in favor of this initiative. Locally Toni Atkins supports it. It is also supported by former Assembly Member Nathan Fletcher. It is supported by the San Diego Green Party, as well as the state Democratic Party.  You can find the full list at Ballotpedia.

Arguments in favor are as follows:

The proposition would help the environment by reducing litter, protecting oceans and wildlife, and reducing clean-up costs.

The proposition would continue California’s success in phasing out plastic bags. Nearly half the state has already banned plastic bags.

The proposition is opposed by four large out-of-state plastic bag companies.

Recycling plastic bags isn’t enough in California. Less than 5 percent get recycled.

Those against include the California Libertarian Party, as well as the following associations:

  • American Forest & Paper Association[26]
  • American Progressive Bag Alliance, A Project Of The Society Of The Plastics Industry (Non-profit 501 (C) (6)), Yes On 65 And No On 67
  • Association of California Cities – Orange County
  • California Manufacturer’s and Technology Association
  • Familias Latinas de California
  • Forest Products Industry National Labor Management Committee
  • Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association
  • Teamsters District Council 2
  • Stop the Bag Ban

Significantly this is also opposed by Dow Chemical.

The arguments are as follows:

  • The proposition would cost consumers more money, as they would be required to pay 10 cents per bag for paper or thicker plastic reusable bags at checkout.
  • The proposition would not allocate revenue generated from reusable bag fees for helping the environment, the revenue would go to grocers as extra profit.
  • Not washing reusable bags increases the risk of E. coli, whereas single-use plastic bags are used just once.[35]

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