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June 2006

Plastic bag recycling bill passes California State Assembly

Sacramento, CA— Legislation aimed at reducing plastic bag litter and waste passed the California State Assembly in May.

Assembly Bill 2449, by Assembly member Lloyd Levine (D-Van Nuys), requires grocery stores and supermarkets to take back plastic bags for recycling, and provide consumers with a bag reuse opportunity.

“Californians use over 19 billion plastic grocery and merchandise bags a year, creating 147,038 tons of unnecessary waste,” Levine said. “That’s enough plastic waste to circle the planet over 250 times per year.”

Mark Murray, executive director of Californians Against Waste, sponsor of the legislation, said “As for recycling, the efforts so far have been minimal and ineffectual. Despite a number of grocery stores with collection areas for bags, the recycling rate in the year 2000 was only one percent.”

Plastic bags proliferate in the environment. Easily caught in California breezes, they get snagged in trees, they clog storm drains, and they litter our roads, rivers and beaches. Local governments spend millions of dollars every year in an effort to clean them up.

California would be just the second state to pass this type of ‘retailer responsibility’ legislation, following Rhode Island. AB 2449 will now go to the State Senate.

For information on this recycling policy, visit

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