... and it looks like it might even pass.
Amid growing frustration over mounting garbage in the Pacific Ocean, California is poised to become the first state in the nation to ban plastic shopping bags.
A bill by Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, D-Santa Monica, would bar grocery, convenience and liquor stores around the state from bagging items with plastic throwaway bags, with the goal of encouraging shoppers to bring their own reusable cloth bags.
Shoppers who didn't bring their own bags would need to purchase recycled paper bags, for a nickel apiece, to bag their groceries. [...]
The bill has the support of environmentalists and grocers, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has indicated he will sign it if it reaches his desk. The plastic industry opposes the measure.
Steve Aceti, executive director for the California Coastal Coalition ---- which represents 35 coastal cities, five coastal counties and three regional associations across the state ---- said the group once preferred the recycling approach to a ban. Aceti said, however, that campaigns to encourage more recycling haven't made a significant dent in the problem.
"So many of these bags are showing up on beaches and in the ocean, and flying around in our communities," Aceti said. "It's just time for a solution, and that is a ban on a product that has outlived its usefulness."
He said it is time that Californians change their habits.
"We should start doing what people in Europe and other countries do, and bring our own bags to the store," he said.
I'm usually opposed to nanny state legislation, but this is kind of like smoking on airplanes. It's just common sense to me. Plastic bags are a real environmental problem, both in the production and the disposal, and they are of no benefit to consumers relative to more environmentally friendly alternatives.
Houlihan and Barth are on board:
[Activist Gina] Goodhill was joined at a news conference by Encinitas Councilwomen Teresa Barth and Maggie Houlihan, who support the bill.
"It's going to help us keep plastic bags off our beaches," Barth said.