The Surfrider Foundation once again proved that constant pressure endlessly applied can overcome the most powerful special interests, ultimately realizing sensible legislation that protects our coastal resources and the multi-billion dollar economy it sustains.
“This bill is a step in the right direction – it reduces the torrent of plastic polluting our beaches, parks and even the vast ocean itself,” said Governor Brown. “We’re the first to ban these bags, and we won’t be the last.”
Effective July 1, 2015, the new law prohibits single-use plastic bags at grocery stores and large pharmacies. The law requires retailers to provide paper or reusable bags constructed of at least 40% recycle content and charge a minimum 10-cent fee. The ban will extend to smaller convenience stores, foodmarts and liquor stores after July 1, 2016. Further, companies that currently manufacture plastic bags could be eligible for loans to “retool” their factories so that they can make reusable bags and respond to new market demands. The law does not preempt current bag bans that are already in place or in the works.
As Rise Above Plastics Month comes to a close we need to look beyond the bag ban and continue to identify ways we can further reduce our single-use plastic footprint. Our oceans are choking on nearly a century of plastic waste and every one of us is responsible for it. We have an opportunity everyday to be a part of the solution by cutting marine debris off at the source and refusing all single-use plastic products, everything from bags to beverage bottles to straws. With so many environmentally friendly alternatives it’s simple for us to take action and reduce the strain on our overburdened environment. Everyday.
Check out these links to some of Surfrider’s favorite companies producing ocean friendly reusables.