After more than 20 years as an environmental advocate, I shouldn’t be surprised by industry shenanigans, but I still am. Case in point: On November 8, California voters will have the chance to vote on a ballot measure, Proposition 67, to ban single-use plastic bags.
Most people know that plastic bags are bad for our environment. We see plastic bags littering our creek beds, sidewalks, highways and beach shorelines every day. Plastic bags don’t degrade. Only three percent are recycled. And they harm wildlife. Seals, fish and birds can become entangled in them and lose mobility, and some critters mistake bags for food, fill their stomachs with indigestible plastic and then die of starvation.
That’s why California passed a statewide law in 2014 to phase out single-use grocery bags, with broad public support.
So now we come to the industry shenanigans. The plastic bag industry, in a tricky move, put Proposition 67 on the ballot. That put the 2014 law on hold until after the upcoming November vote. Now, plastic bag companies from South Carolina, Texas and New Jersey are spending millions of dollars here in California on a highly deceptive advertising campaign against Prop 67. Their goal is to use the voters to overturn the 2014 state law and kill California’s efforts to control plastic bag trash.
A yes vote on Prop 67 will keep in place the 2014 law banning single-use plastic bags, and ensure that it is implemented throughout our state.
Many Bay Area cities—and over half of California’s communities—already have local bans. And these bans work. Where plastic bag bans are already in place, litter has been measurably reduced. Prop 67 builds on these local, proven successes and takes the ban statewide.
Californians throw away 500 plastic bags every second. Cleaning them up costs taxpayers $100 million a year. Let’s protect the entire Bay Area, San Francisco Bay’s entire watershed, all of California’s waterways and the Pacific coast from plastic bag trash.
On November 8, be sure to vote yes on California Proposition 67, the statewide ban on single-use plastic bags. And join me and thousands of Californians by taking reusable bags with you when you go shopping.