Senate Bill 1046: California to begin phasing out single-use plastic bags used for meat and produce

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) — A big change is in the works for grocery stores across the state.

Single-use plastic bags used for produce or meat must be phased out by law.

It’s been more than five years since single-use plastic bags used after payment were banned from grocery stores, say advocates of the ban, which have made progress for the environment.

“There was a 72% drop in grocery bag waste in the state just one year after full implementation,” said Nicole Kurian, legislative director of Californians Against Waste.

The organization supported SB-1046 which hopes to go further by banning single-use plastic pre-crate bags which are not recyclable and can contaminate composting facilities.

“This contamination is a huge problem and creates microplastics in our compost, and also leads to higher handling costs and higher rates for consumers at the curb,” Kurian said.

RELATED: San Francisco bans some commonly used plastic items

The bill was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom last week.

It says that by January 1, 2025, single-use plastic bags before payment must be phased out and replaced with recycled paper bags or bags that are considered compostable under state criteria.

“Any products that meet these standards can have a green, tan, or brown tint, or any kind of marketing that implies they are compostable, and they are allowed to use the label as compostable,” Kurian said.

The San Jose buyers ABC7 spoke to were all in favor.

“You see a lot of plastic on the streets,” said customer Emily Orvell, “it would be really nice to get some of that out of the way.”

RELATED: Plastic bags are banned again in California as COVID-19 order expires

Customer Barbara Dixon was also supportive.

“We have to solve the plastic problem because we are idiots,” she said, “humans have to stop doing crazy stuff and start fixing things.”

But not everyone is so enthusiastic:

The California Grocers Association has asked for at least two years to allow stores to transition.

ABC7 contacted the association and received no response, but in documented oppositionthey say they believe there are only a handful of manufacturers that can supply alternative bags.

They also called for other actions such as fees and outright bans at the local level against product bags to be blocked for the future.

Supporters are doubling down and saying the new rule will be a win for everyone.

“It helps consumers be much more informed about products that claim to be compostable that are actually compostable,” Kurian said, “(It) helps them collect their organics, so it’s a win-win bill on multiple respects.”

If you’re on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live

Copyright © 2022 KGO-TV. All rights reserved.

Norman D. Briggs