The US state of California has passed the first statewide legislation in the nation, which bans single-use plastic bags. The bags will be banned in grocery and convenience stores to cut down on damage to the environment.
The bill, signed by Governor Jerry Brown, will take effect in July 2015.
Plastic manufacturers have challenged the motion, however, claiming it will lead to the loss of thousands of jobs and allow grocers to profit from new paper bag costs.
“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.”
It prohibits “stores from selling or distributing a recycled paper bag at the point of sale unless the store makes that bag available for purchase for not less than $0.10” (£0.06), according to the legislation.
Larger chains, including Wal-Mart and Target, will have to comply with the law beginning in July 2015, while convenience stores and food marts will have until July 2016.
Plastics trade group The American Progressive Bag Alliance had lobbied hard to stop the ban, but to no success.
Lee Califf, executive director of the manufacturer trade group, told US media that this motion could destroy California manufacturers.
“If this law were allowed to go into effect, it would jeopardize thousands of California manufacturing jobs, hurt the environment and fleece consumers for billions so grocery store shareholders and their union partners can line their pockets.”