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California Fails to Approve Plastic Bag Ban [Updated]

california-plastic-bag-ban3.jpg
>Single-use bags like this plastic one would be banned from a majority of stores in California under Assembly Bill 1998 | Photo by cuttlefish via Flickr
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A state bill that sought to ban plastic and other single-use bags from supermarkets and other retailers in California failed to garner approval in a late-night Senate vote Tuesday evening.

Bill author Assemblymember Julia Brownley (D - Santa Monica) and sponsor Heal the Bay's goal with Assembly Bill 1998 was to reduce California's contribution to ocean pollution, including the massively large Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which by some estimates is at least the size of Texas or even the United States. 19 billion single-use bags are used in California each year and an estimated $25 million is spent collecting and disposing of them. Plastic marine-debris is often mistaken for jelly fish by whales, birds and sea turtles who eat it, which could be a fatal move.

“This is a sad day for California,” Brownley said after the vote. “Communities across the state were waiting for the state to adopt a uniform, statewide ban on single-use bags before they adopt their own ordinances. The state failed them."