Single-Use Carryout Bags (SB 270). On November 8, 2016, California voters upheld the nation’s first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags, aligning state law with ordinances passed by a growing number of local governments in California to reduce plastic waste. For more information please visit CalRecycle’s Plastic Bag Page and their Frequently Asked Questions
As a result, the new law is in effect and most grocery stores, retail stores with a pharmacy, convenience stores, food marts, and liquor stores will no longer be able to provide single-use plastic carry-out bags to their customers. Instead, these stores may provide a reusable grocery bag or recycled paper bag to a customer at the point of sale at a charge of at least 10 cents.
Plastic bags are rapidly becoming the widest-spread litter issue in America. Because of their composition and extremely light weight, plastic bags and film plastic require special handling. Most materials recovery facilities, or MRFs, aren’t equipped to handle them. When tossed in a trashcan, the bags frequently escape and are blown about by the smallest breeze. Occasionally, the bags are even blown out of trash disposal trucks.
In order to keep plastic bags from cluttering streets, clinging to the Joshua trees, and jamming up recycling equipment in the MRF, take them back to the grocery store for proper recycling by the manufacturers.
California supermarkets and large retailers with a pharmacy must accept plastic bags for recycling. In its first three years, the at-store recycling rate increased by 50% — from 2% to 3%. By comparison, Californians now recycle their aluminum cans at a 95% rate, and the overall statewide recycling rate is 65%.
What can you do?