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  • By Christopher E. Ng, Esq.

    Earlier today, California became the first state in the nation to ban plastic grocery bags when Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill banning single-use plastic shopping bags at supermarkets, liquor stores and other retail locations. Although more than 100 municipalities in California have already enacted bans on single-use plastic bags, the ban will be effective statewide starting July 1, 2015.

    “This bill is a step in the right direction – it reduces the torrent of plastic polluting our beaches, parks and even the vast ocean itself,” Brown wrote in a signing message. “We’re the first to ban these bags, and we won’t be the last.”

    Under SB270, plastic bags will be phased out of checkout counters at large grocery stores and retailers with pharmacies (10,000 square feet of retail floor space and annual sales of $2 million) such as Target, Rite-Aid, Wal-Mart and Ralphs starting July 1, 2015. The following year, convenience food stores and other retailers engaged in the retail sales of dry groceries and goods intended to be consumed off premises (i.e., alcohol, milk and canned foods) such as 7-11 and liquor stores will be forced to comply with the new law as well. Businesses will also be required to charge ten cents for paper bag, while consumers will now face a choice: purchase a reusable bag, or pay ten cents for a paper bag or a multi-use plastic carrier that meets a set of state durability standards.

    Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island also have pending legislation that would ban single-use bags. More states are likely to follow.

    For more information contact:

    Christopher E. Ng, Esq.
    Gibbs Giden Locher Turner Senet & Wittbrodt LLP
    1880 Century Park East, 12th Floor
    Los Angeles, California 90067
    Phone: (310) 552-3400
    email: cng@gibbsgiden.com

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