Disposable plastic bags would be banned from grocery check-out stands in California and consumers would pay at least a dime for a paper or re-usable plastic bag a under a compromise proposal negotiated with key opponents of last year's bill to ban plastic shopping bags.
Lawmakers plan to unveil the deal tomorrow at a Los Angeles-area manufacturing plant.
Senate Bill 270 seeks to temper some manufacturing industry opposition by providing $2 million from state recycling funds. Plastic bag makers would be able to apply for grants to re-train their workers or re-engineer their operations to make plastic bags that meet new criteria spelled out in the bill.
The legislation is a joint effort by Sen. Alex Padilla -- the Los Angeles Democrat who authored last year's failed attempt to ban plastic bags -- and two of his colleagues who killed that bill, Sen. Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, and Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens. De Leon and Lara both have plastic bag factories in their districts and said last year that Padilla's SB 405 would eliminate too many jobs for their working-class constituents.
The three senators plan to introduce their new proposal at the Command Packaging plant in Vernon tomorrow, along with labor and environmental leaders.
Under their proposal, consumers would pay a minimum 10 cent fee for every shopping bag. Only plastic bags that meet certain thresholds for containing recycled content and being strong enough for more than 125 uses would be available in California. Re-usable plastic bags for sale in California would have to contain at least 20 percent recycled plastic, a bar that would go up over time to 40 percent, said Mark Murray, executive director of Californians Against Waste.
"We're trying to develop a criteria for an evolving market place," he said.
The bag requirements would take effect at large grocery stores in 2015 and at pharmacies and liquor stores in 2016.
PHOTO: Courtesy clerks Christia Johnson-Williams left, and Heather Roberts fill plastic bags with groceries at the Safeway store in midtown Sacramento on Monday June 11, 2007. The Sacramento Bee/Randall Benton