Consumers may be forced to pay a 25 cent tax for both plastic and paper bags if a new Assembly bill passes.
The bill, introduced by Assemblyman Lloyd Levine of Van Nuys would require all supermarkets and drug retailers to increase their recycling rates or be forced to charge customers the fee.
Programs established in 2006 state that all plastic bags provided by stores must have “Please return to a participating store for recycling” printed on them. There should be a clearly visible bin assesable for the purpose of collecting and recycling bags. Also, stores must make resuable bags available to customers. Records of these actions must be maintained for a minimum of three years.
The guidelines of the bill would require a 70% increase for both paper and plastic bags from their 2007 in store programs. If stores fail to meet this benchmark, they would be then required by law to charge a tax of at least 25 cents for every bag used by shoppers.
Opponents of the bill argue that it would add hundreds of dollars a year to grocery bills for families who are already struggling with record high gasoline prices.
Supporters emphasize that not only do plastic bags costs local governments millions to clean up, but those costs fall onto the tax payer. Also, they argue that plastic bags kill thousands of marine wildlife in our oceans.
The bill made its way to the Senate Appropriations Committee where it will be voted on.