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Plastic bag ban fizzles again in California amid heavy industry lobbying. What do you think?


Another effort in California to ban plastic bags failed in the Legislature late Tuesday night.

That measure, AB 1998, passed the Assembly in June and had the support of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger but faced a withering and well-financed advertising and lobbying campaign from the plastic bag manufacturing industry.


California would have been the first state in the nation to have a full ban on plastic bags, a goal some environmentalists have been pushing for years.

"I think we missed a great opportunity," said the measure's author, Julia Brownley (D- Santa Monica), as the bill failed another Senate vote just before 11 p.m.

What do you think? Share your views below.

Photo credit: Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (99)

I think we need the jobs for the people who manufacture the bags AND the people who collect and recycle the bags......we cannot afford any job loss in California.

Legalize Hemp, ban crude oil based non biodegradable plastic bags, allow biodegradable plastic bags made from hemp seed oil. 2 birds 1 stone. Hemp Seed Oil can be used for the exact same applications as crude oil and is renewable, doesn't erode the soil, and takes in tons of CO2- ?? Birds 1 Stone

The LA Times should post photos of the trash at the mouth of Ballona Creek after the first rain storm of the season. A similar trip a few years ago changed me from ambivalent to a reusable bag toter.

Nice photo! I can take pictures of garbage piled nearby WITHOUT any plastic bags in it. Gonna outlaw all packaging too?
Balance the budget, quit messing around with "State Rocks" and Bag Taxes".

Thank Goodness! When I found out there was a ban on 'single use' plastic bans, I was livid! I use those bags over and over again. They are never used just once. And the larger issue is that I am sick and tired of the government being so heavy-handed in our lives. What will they attempt to ban next?

If they can't be banned, I think stores should charge five cents per bag. They give a five cent discount now for bringing your own bags, and I would certainly not mind forfeiting this incentive knowing that people who don't bring their own bags were getting charged. Its all about incentive...and money. Five cents adds up fast and could go to the budget, right? I think it is pretty gross when I see a cart full of plastic bags holding just a few items - so unnecessary. As far as people who say these bags can be used again, there are SO many reusable, more sustainable options out there (for instance, why do you even NEED a plastic trash bag?). Also, regardless it people are not littering, wind picks up our trash and carries it to the streets and oceans. Caring for our environment is and should be regarded as a HUMAN issue and not a POLITICAL one.

Frankly, I'm glad the ban failed. I resent the top-down, authoritarian measures that leftist environmental activists often use to impose their idea of progress on others. Personally, not only do I use these bags for carrying my groceries, I also use them to carry bagged lunch and I also use them as free trash bags.

Thank goodness it failed! Our legislatures have finally done something right and we don't need the state or lobbyists cramming another unjust bill down our throat. But don't you be fooled - these lobbyists will make sure we pay one way or another by cramming unjust taxes to us taxpayers on every bag we use.

A middle of the row solution would be to mandate a 5c or 10c levy on each plastic bag a consumer buys at a grocery store.

This will encourage users to a) bring their own reusable bags b) switch to recycled paper bags

Other places that have done this have shown a 90% drop in single use plastic bags.
I'll take a 90% drop now, over haggling over 100% ban.

I am so glad. I was concerned what our family was going to do about the trash. We haven't bought trash bags for simply years with being able to recycle the trash bags. With trying to cut corners everywhere, to have to add back in any kind of purchase seemed painful.

Again our politicians cave in to industry and the money industry uses to influence them with. I agree with another post about reusing these plastic bags. My family tries to reuse them all the time, but looking at landfills and the ocean filled with these bags makes me understand I have to change my habits and so do others. We have to find the backbone to save our environment and the animals we impact daily.

I try to remember my reusable bags simply because we are drowning in plastic ones. Perhaps if there were more incentive to recycle, either reward or penalty, more people would do it. Also, we have made curb-side recycling so easy, yet we have to take bags somewhere else to recycle them.
What I have seen little mention of is that these bags are a petroleum product -- is that a good use of a finite resource?

I try to remember my reusable bags, if only because we are drowning in the plastic ones. Perhaps if there were more incentive to recycle, either in the form of reward or penalty, more people would do it. Curb-side recycling is so easy, yet that is not an option for plastic bags.
Also, I have seen very little mention of the fact that these bags are a petroleum product. Is this really the best use of a finite resource?

What a shame. Special interest prevails over our common interest. Looks like our rivers, beaches, and wild spaces will have to wait for leaders instead of politicians to champion their clean up. The two are no longer synonymous. Millions of dollars in pollution expense for dozens of jobs - I guess that evens it out in an election year. The men who work full-time chasing down errant grocery bags at the Puente Hills landfill can sleep easier tonight. That's the kind of quality job that will dig California out of this recession. California functions like a miniature of our federal government; we have a government by the corporations for the corporations. When corporations don't like policy, they blackmail politicians with cutting jobs. Thus, another productive idea cowers before the status quo. And no, I'm not a liberal Democrat, I'm a Republican who pays attention.

Bacteria nuff said. Make a biodegradable bag common how hard is that

It is encouraging to see common sense does eventually rise to the top of a political debate.

Plastic bag bans are wrong. If people believe that a plastic bag is wrong, then they should chose an alternative.

It is not the function or purpose of government to make personal decisions as so many of the radical left believe. The only problem with plastic bags is that people are not capable of disposing of them properly.

During a recent walk in a rural setting I intentionally looked for sources of man-made, un-natural items. The most frequently observed items: cigarette butts, aluminum cans, and paper bags.

Again, plastic bags are not the problem.

California get off your high horse. It is not the plastic bags that pollute, it is people that pollute. Government stay out of the way of how people live their lives. If we don't even have the freedom to choose plastic or paper, then what is next. How is paper and the other bags we use any greener then plastic? Many people reuse plastic bags for other things. If you ban bags from stores, people will find other ways to get them. It will end up costing consumer more, with no net eviromental improvement.

Spend more time on the budget and sky rocketed gov employee union pensions. That is killing California not plastic bags.

We don't need more regulation. Americans are smart, just educate them.

Part of the argument is “What about all the plastic bag manufactures that will lose their jobs?’ “We need all the jobs we can get”. This is simply short sighted and old-fashion thinking and frankly it pisses me off.

When is the last time you had a milk man come to your door? It was replaced by an invention called the refrigerator.

When is the last time you made a call and got a switchboard operator?

Remember the video store Blockbuster? Many have closed down in place of streaming videos from Netflix.

Point is – all these industries grew and changed with the times. They were replaced by better more useful products.

Why on Earth are we refusing to let the same thing happen to the plastic bag industry and deny Americans green jobs?! It doesn’t make sense! It’s called progress, and it happens to every industry and I’m sure one day it will happen to the reusable bag industry as well.

The reason why this is a big issue is because the plastic bag industry have been somewhat successful brainwashing and scaring people into thinking they need plastic bags. Don’t be fooled.


Colossal waste of time and money to try to enforce. This problem should be solved by positive steps, such as making recycling of uses of bags desirable, not banning them and leaving people to go home with handfulls of random groceries.

I recycle all plastic bags by using them for utility purposes, or bagging my dog's works when I walk him. I see people buying such bags for the same purpose, and just wonder why a law against plastic bags make any sense in my case since none go in the garbage unused. I'd return them to stores for recycling, when I am w/o pet to reuse the bulk of them.

This state is going bankrupt and you put more of your worries in plastic bags, what a bunch of airheads

Why pick on plastic bags. Greens hate them but I will bet every one of them used or uses or will use Pampers for their kids. Certainly usable only one time bulky and fill up landfills faster. I will agree we should ban plastic bags if moms agree to ban pampers and go back to cloth diapers. What woould the vote be for that? Hippocritical to say the least. Get out of my life. Do waht you want and I will do what I want. Fair enough.

for all those people saying "we reuse our plastic bags!" thats illogical because as much as u may reuse them, u have to addit that u do end up throwing them away and it matters not how many times u reUSE them but that u reCYCLE them

This is good news! The propaganda spewed about 100,000 birds and marine animals being killed each year by plastic bags is a farce. Discarded nets might be the real culprit you are looking for.

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