California Assemblyman Marc Levine introduced a bill on Tuesday that would ban single-use plastic grocery bags throughout the state beginning in 2015.
Levine, D-San Rafael, modeled Bill 158 after a similar bill was held up in a Senate committee last year after facing criticism from plastic bag manufacturers and grocers.
Under the bill, grocery stores with more than $2 million in annual sales or retailers with more than 10,000 square feet of floor space would have to stop offering plastic bags, according to a news release from Levine.
Stores would be required to offer customers reusable grocery bags as well as free recycled paper bags under the bill. After July 30, 2016, stores can charge a fee for recycled paper bags.
The ban would not apply to smaller plastic bags used for fruits and vegetables.
“To continue the use of these bags would ignore the convincing body of global evidence proving that these bags are having a drastic effect on marine ecocultures,” Levine said in a statement. “Additionally, there are several easily available and affordable alternatives to plastic bags. We need to ban these bags once and for all.
“This issue is being taken up at the local level in California as dozens of city councils and boards of supervisors consider resolutions banning plastic grocery bags,” Levine added. “The elimination of plastic bags is inevitable and it is time for a statewide solution to this problem. I look forward to working with environmental advocates, plastics manufacturers, grocers, and retailers on crafting legislation that can be implemented expediently, effectively, and economically.”