On September 30 of this year, Governor Newson signed a new bill that would make plastic bags a past for California grocery shoppers. This makes California the first state to pass such legislation and will hopefully set a more environmentally friendly precedent going forward.
So what exactly is this bill about? Basically, it prevents stores “from providing a pre-checkout bag to customers if the bag is not either compostable or a recycled paper bag.” This is aimed to reduce the amount of plastic pollution because, as the bill states, plastic bags have a habit of ending up contaminating compost facilities and ending up as waste in streams and bodies of water. This bill will go into effect at the very beginning of 2025.
Plastic bags have always been a problem for animals and the environment, especially for sea animals. Many aquatic inhabitants cannot tell the difference between them and choke to death when they mistake the bags for prey. According to biologicaldiversity.org, fish consume thousands of tons of plastic a year, and that enters human systems in the form of microplastic as it travels through and up the food chain. On top of that, plastics have a very long decomposition time and when subjected to nature, they release toxins that can seriously damage all sorts of wildlife including us.
For the past decades, the harm of plastic was unknown and the amount of pollution has been growing bigger and bigger exponentially all the while. Serious work needs to be done if we are ever going to be free from so much plastic harming our health and our planet. While there is a long road of recovery in the future, people are starting to take substantial steps on this path.
California is paving the way for other states to follow and is showing promising results. A recent study says California has had a 70% reduction in plastic bag use since banning single use plastics in 2014 and this new bill seems to make that 70% into a complete 100%. The future has challenges in store if we’re going to save our planet but with every win like this and with us all doing our part, the future also seems to be getting brighter and brighter.
Daniel (October 2022)