David McNew/Getty Images
Food 4 Less grocery store general clerk Xochil Montenegro hands out a free reusable shopping bag, supplied by the California Grocers Association (CGA) and the City of Los Angeles, to a customer in observance of Earth Day, on the eve of Earth Day, April 21, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. During the two-day program, 50,000 bags are being handed out at about 40 grocery stores to encourage consumers to use reusable bags instead of disposable plastic or paper bags. The use of reusable bag has increased since a statewide plastic bag recycling law was enacted in July 2007 requiring grocers to provide in-store plastic bag recycling and to sell reusable shopping bags. Some communities have banned disposable plastic grocery bags. The free bags provided by the CGA and the city are made of 100% recycled water, soda and food containers.
The California Assembly voted yesterday to ban single-use plastic grocery bags in stores. The bill, which now moves to the state Senate for approval, would require shoppers to carry reusable totes or pay five cents or more for a paper bag made of partially recycled content. If passed, California would be the first state in the nation to have such a ban. Each year, Californians use 19 billion plastic bags, or approximately 552 bags per person. Is getting rid of plastic a good idea? How would the new rules affect your shopping habits?