Oct 20, 2016
California Plastic Bag Initiatves: Proposition 65 and 67
This November Californians will have an opportunity to vote on two initiatives that will impact plastic bag use in the state.
The first, Proposition 67, would enact a single-use plastic bag ban similar to that in Hawaii. However the California initiative goes a step further and would mandate an at least $0.10 charge on stores which give away reusable paper or plastic bags. Remember one of the inadvertent consequences of the Hawaii bag ban was that stores were still giving away plastic bags, they were just THICKER plastic bags which were classified as "reusable". Having this charge would mean there was an additional disincentive to use the bags provided. If Proposition 67 is passed it will be similar to the plastic bag tax in New York and all money collected from the sale of bags would be kept by the store.
However proposition 65, the other plastic bag proposition on the ballot, would vote to change that. This vote says that if a fee is required, the money no longer goes to the store, but rather would go to specified environmental programs, which is what Washington DC does with the money collected on it's bag tax.
The concern with Proposition 65 passing is that if it collects more votes there is some fear that it may negate the plastic bag ban in locations that do not already have it. There are also concerns that the money will not actually to go help environmental causes.
Since both of these propositions are on the ballot and they are interrelated there is a chance that one or both will pass leading to different outcomes. However, any either is passed it would still be better than what we have in Florida where bag bans and fees are illegal.
If Proposition 67 and 65 both pass, the proposition with the most votes will take precedence. If Proposition 67 receives the most votes there will be a plastic bag ban and the money will be retained by the grocer. If Proposition 65 passes with the greater number of votes money collected from the continued sale of plastic bags would go to a newly created environmental fund.
However if only one passes, or neither passes there can be some interesting changes.
If Prop 67 passes, but Prop 65 does not: There will be a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags, and money obtained by the sale of bags will be retained by the grocer.
If Prop 65 passes, but Prop 67 does not: There is no statewide ban. Any revenue created from future propositions will go into a environmental fund.
Opponents to proposition 67 say that it will amount to a hidden tax on consumers to simply pad the pockets of the grocery and other stores who collect the fee. Opponents to proposition 65 say it was started from out of state plastic bag manufacturers who don't want to initiate any real environmental change.
Many groups in California, including the Surfrider Foundation, are recommending a Yes vote on Prop 67 and a No vote on Prop 65.
What do you think about the rival plastic bag initiatives? Remember it doesn't take a law to #SkipTheBag!