California moves to ban plastic bags at grocery stores

SACRAMENTO — It could soon cost California shoppers at the checkout if they forget to bring their own bag to the grocery store.

Legislation passed Wednesday by the California Assembly would prohibit grocery stores, pharmacies, liquor stores and convenience stores from giving out plastic bags. It would also charge customers for using store-issued paper bags.

If signed into law, California would be the first state to impose a statewide ban.

The ban's goal is to get rid of unsightly plastic bags that often wind up in urban rivers and the ocean, as well as reduce the number of bags heading for landfills.

A spokesman for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said the Republican governor supports a plastic bag ban. The bill, AB 1998, still needs Senate approval.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.