Plastic grocery bags are seen in the back of a car in La Crescenta, Calif., on Nov. 17, 2010. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
California legislators introduced a bill Feb. 8 that would ban the use of all plastic shopping bags by 2026.
The state already has restrictions on thin single-use plastic bags at stores, but Senate Bill 1053 seeks to eliminate the use of thicker varieties, often marketed as reusable and recyclable, which buyers can purchase for an additional cost.
However, State Sen. Catherine Blakespear, who introduced the bill along with Sen. Ben Allen, argued that consumers actually don’t reuse or recycle the thicker plastic bags.
In a press release, Ms. Blakenspear said that the plastic bag ban implemented in 2014 did not achieve the intended reduction in overall plastic consumption.
Instead, she said it resulted in a significant increase in plastic waste, contributing to what she described as the planet being “literally choking” on plastic.
She also highlighted a study from the state-led recycling program CalRecycle that reported that the amount of plastic shopping bags discarded per person has surged from 8 pounds annually in 2004 to 11 pounds in 2021.
According to the environmental advocacy group Environment America Research and Policy Center, California is one of 12 states that have some form of statewide plastic bag ban.
Additionally, hundreds of U.S. cities across 28 states have local ordinances in place to curb plastic bag usage.
The statewide ban on single-use plastic bags was passed by the Legislature in 2014 and later affirmed by voters in a 2016 referendum.