Two bills aiming to close a loophole in California’s single-use plastic bag ban that allows for stores to distribute “recyclable” alternatives passed through the State Senate with overwhelming support from lawmakers. Senate Bill 1053, introduced by State Sens. Catherine Blakespear (D-Encinitas) and Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica), was approved by the chamber in a 30-7 floor vote. It will now move onto the State Assembly, who also just passed an identical bill — Assembly Bill 2236 introduced by Asm. Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda) — in a 51-7 vote.

Both bills would remove a provision from the state’s original ban allowing stores to use thicker, “reusable” bags made out of plastic film. They would also revise the ban’s requirement for stores to provide paper bags made out of 40% recycled material to 100% recycled material. “California’s original ban on plastic bags hasn’t worked out as planned, and sadly, the state’s plastic bag waste has increased dramatically since it went into effect,” Blakespear said in a statement. “California must do its part to eliminate this scourge that is contaminating our environment.”

California implemented its single-use plastic bag ban in 2016. It came two years after a bill creating it was signed into law due to a bid by plastic manufacturers to halt its enforcement by putting the ban before voters in a statewide referendum.

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Author: Danielle Dawson, KRON 4