Tops October 2016 Green Tips: Trash the Plastic

Next month, we have some very important decisions to make. On November 8, we will be voting on new leaders nationally and locally, along with many measures affecting our well-being and the health of the planet. We have often encouraged you to vote with your dollars at the store by buying local and organic products and knowing who owns the companies you purchase from. Now we want to write about three particular pieces of legislation about plastic bag bans. Here are some facts that may inform your decision:

  • SB270 (the Single-use Carryout Bag Ban) was enacted into law in 2014. It required stores to stop providing single-use plastic carryout bags to customers, with a few specified exceptions. It also requires store to “establish recycling programs that provide customers the opportunity to return clean plastic carryout bags to the store”. This law also provided $2 million to create jobs for the manufacture and recycling of plastic reusable grocery bags.
  • What’s so bad about single-use plastic bags? Plastic bags are made from petroleum and don’t biodegrade. They leach toxic chemicals into landfills, they contribute to litter on land and in the waterways. Plastic bags propose serious threats to wildlife who eat them and cannot digest them. They are a huge problem, with 60,000 plastic bags being used in the U.S. every 5 seconds! (Onegreenplanet.org)
  • So why are we voting on this issue again? According to cleanwateraction.org, out of state plastic bag manufacturers have spent over $3 million to overturn SB270. Their efforts to put Props 67 and 65 on the ballot are to confuse voters and protect their revenue stream by repealing the bag ban. If Props 65 and 67 both pass and Prop 65 gets more votes, it could actually negate SB270. Tricky, huh?
  • CA Proposition 67 (the Plastic Bag Ban Veto Referendum) seeks to uphold the 2014 law. A YES vote will uphold SB270, banning single-use plastic bags. A NO vote would overturn SB270. This law would allow stores to keep the funds from their paper bag sales and use them for: covering costs to comply with the law and of providing reusable or recycled paper bags, and to provide educational materials to encourage the use of recycled bags.
  • CA Proposition 65 (the Dedication of Revenue from Disposable Bag sales to Wildlife Conservation Fund Initiative) will send the funds from the sale of paper bags to the Wildlife Conservation Fund. A YES vote would redirect money from paper bags sales to the Wildlife Conservation Fund. A NO vote is against redirecting those funds. So, YES sounds like the right move? Well, no, because according to the official voter guide’s analysis of Prop 65, f it passes, it could negate SB270 altogether. See:
  • If you want to ban plastic bags in California, vote Yes on Prop 67 and No on Prop 65.

Thanks for taking the time to read this article and please let us know if you have any questions or comments. Contact Jude Frates at Frates Consulting: . And make you voice heard on November 8!

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