The ban will go into effect on January 1, 2025, Over the next two years, plastic produce bags will be phased out of California grocery stores and supermarkets.

A bill recently signed into law by California Governor Gavin Newsom prohibits the use of single-use plastic produce bags, which must now be replaced by January 1, 2025. Shoppers can instead use recycled paper bags or compostable bags.

The thin plastic bags, which are commonly found next to fruit and vegetables at supermarkets, are used to separate the items before checkout. However, the ban also applies to unwrapped items such as meat, fish, nuts, grains, candy, and bakery goods.

“The average working life of a plastic bag is 15 minutes, and over 100 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide each year,” Californians Against Waste, an environmental advocacy group that sponsored bill SB 1046, said in a letter on its website.

“Several studies have shown that contamination in compost waste streams decreases when consumers have convenient access to compostable bags,” it continued.

According to Nick Lapis, the organization’s director of advocacy, the thin bags are not recyclable and are considered a “contaminant” of any waste bin in which they are placed.

“It flies around landfills and flies out of trucks,” Lapis said, according to the Mercury News. “It gets stuck on gears at recycling facilities. And it contaminates compost. It’s a problematic product we want to get rid of.”

The California Grocers Association, according to the outlet, was the bill’s main opponent. Californians Against Waste told ABC affiliate KABC that litter caused by grocery bags has dropped by 72 percent in the 12 months since the state banned single-use plastic bags five years ago. The new bill is expected to produce similar results.

“This contamination is a huge problem and creates microplastics in our compost, and also leads to higher handling costs and higher rates for consumers at the curbside,” Nicole Kurian, Legislative Director at Californians Against Waste, told the outlet.

California shoppers who the news station spoke to seemed supportive of the ban. “You see a lot of plastic on the streets,” one resident said, “That would be really nice to get rid of some of that.”



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