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The controversial statewide ban on plastic grocery store bags, Senate Bill 270, authored by State Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), has been one of the highest profile bills churning through the California legislature this year.
After all of the speechifying was concluded, and a vote was taken, the legislation failed on a vote of 38 to 33. A majority of 41 votes had been needed to pass the bill. All of the votes in support of the bill were from Democrats. The votes against the bill were from the lower chamber’s Republicans and some apparently more moderate Democrats. A significant number of Democrats were present in the chamber, but declined to vote either way.
Do you want paper or plastic?
You’ve probably been told that the right answer is paper – unless you want to hasten climate change and choke marine life. But the plastic bag has been wrongfully convicted. And labeling it as an environmental villain – and banning its usage – is blinding us to better behavior.
Plastic bags haven’t always been Public Enemy No. 1. Introduced by Safeway and Kroger in 1982, they soon dominated the grocery bag market – by 1996, 80 percent of all bags were made from lightweight plastics. Customers loved ‘em. They became thinner, lighter and able to contain more recycled material. And then…the tide turned.