This week Governor Jerry Brown signed signed bill SB270 making California the first state to ban grocery and convenience stores from packing purchased items in single-use plastic bags starting in mid-2015. The law does not apply to bags used for fruits, vegetables or meats, or to shopping bags used at retailers other than grocery and convenience stores. The law also permits retailers to charge a fee of 10 cents (or more) for paper bags.
As with many issues, other states are set to follow California's lead, as Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Puerto Rico each have laws pending to ban single-use bags. GreenRetailAlliance.org applauds California’s new law and feels it is the beginning of a major shift in the way American’s shop.
The plastic bag manufacturers lobbying group the "American Progressive Bag Alliance" is challenging the law and believes the new law will result in thousands of people losing their jobs. GreenRetaiAlliance.org believes that in order for change to be lasting, retailers, government and consumers need to work together and make reform profitable for as many people as possible.
Business owners need to see change coming and innovate their products and services to match the changing needs of our culture. What if plastic bag manufacturers began to produce reusable shopping bags and sell them in the marketplace. Many of the reusable shopping bags on the market are made with recycled plastic. If plastic bag manufacturers took this opportunity to make reusable shopping bags, they could both reduce the amount of plastic going to landfills and be a part of the effort to encourage consumers to BYOB. And that would be a business model Americans would praise and support.