While it’s no secret that plastic does more harm than good, the state of California has decided to do something about it. California is the first to have a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags. This decision follows the recent approval of Proposition 67. The ban affects grocery stores, retailers, liquor stores, and small markets.
While the ban covers a large variety of places, restaurants are excluded from the ban , and customers will be able to obtain a thicker plastic bag or a paper bag if necessary, but must pay 10 cents extra. This tax is put in place in order to persuade people into using more sustainable methods of carrying things such as the usage of a reusable tote bag, or canvas bag.
According to the San Diego Times, The state of California is estimated to have used roughly 13 billion single use plastic bags every year. If just one state is using that money, it is easy to realize how much of a problem this can be if the rest of the nation is also using plastic bags.
This law has made much positive change in a short time. Cleaner beaches have been reported when beach sweep data has been submitted recently. Plastic bags tend to be one of the main objects found during these beach clean-ups. In cities that already had the ban since 2011, such as San Francisco, it has been reported that bag litter has been reduced by about 90 percent. This is evidence that the state-wide ban will provide positive results in the future.
While the lack of plastic bags may be an inconvenience to some, the overall positive impact the ban will have can be argued to be worth more than mild inconvenience. Plastic bags have been known to enter waterways and harm marine life such as turtles and whales and other creatures such as birds. These animals swallow and become entangled within the bags. These bags are also an eye-sore and can make beautiful beaches look dirty and unpleasant.
By banning the bags, marine life is helped significantly, the state will not be further contributing in creating more of these plastic bags, and people will learn to make sustainable choices. People will be proud of their beaches and find that by enduring a small inconvenience, they are contributing a large part to positive change.