SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California Grocers Association lauded the announcement of state legislation — Assembly Bill 1998 — that would ban the free distribution of single-use carryout bags and require the sale of single-use recycled-paper carryout bags to customers at the point of sale.
The bill would also require affected stores to provide reusable bags for sale or free distribution and would preempt local ordinances that regulate bags at those retailers subject to the state law.
Overall, the bill would create a statewide standard for single-use carryout bags at supermarkets, chain pharmacies and other large grocery retailers beginning Jan. 1, 2012, and at convenience stores, neighborhood markets and liquor stores beginning July 1, 2013.
“AB 1998 creates a uniform, statewide standard to help level the playing field among food retailers,” said CGA President Ronald Fong, in a statement. “It addresses the issue of single-use carryout bags across all California jurisdictions and provides the most environmental gain with the least competitive disruption for retailers.”
Fong said changing consumer behavior will be challenging, but believes Californians will embrace the change. “”Our industry will do all it can to educate consumers to the benefits of reusable bags. Having until 2012 will allow grocers to move consumer behavior towards reusable bag use.”