SAN DIEGO – California voters narrowly approved Proposition 67 Tuesday, which bans single-use plastic carry-out bags from stores – but many shoppers didn’t think stores would implement it right away.
Although the law doesn’t take effect until December 9, stores such as Walmart and Vons have already begun charging for reusable or paper bags.
“It caught me by surprise. I heard about it, I saw it on the election ballot but I didn’t think about it coming to the store today,” said shopper David Courtoglous. “Ecologically, it’s a good thing. The plastic never decomposes.”
In recent years, plastic bags have been banned by local ordinances in cities like San Francisco, setting off a movement that led other California cities to do the same.
There isn't a specific amount stores must charge for paper bags, but most stores have been charging about 10 cents per bag, leaving shoppers with mixed opinions.
Deborah Sloan, a Bay Area native, says she knew the ban on plastic bags would eventually become a statewide law.
“You go to the store, you maybe have the bags in the car but you forget your bags, you leave them in the car, so you’re still buying a couple hundred bucks worth of bags every year that you’re still going to throw away even though you paid your 10 cents for every bag,” Sloan said.
“Ten cents won’t make you remember your bags. Two dollars makes you remember your bag,” Sloan added.
Some stores such as Vons are trying to make it a smooth transition by offering free reusable bags to shoppers.
The California Grocers Association released a statement that read in part:
"California’s grocers plan on complying with the will of the voters in their passage of Proposition 67. As an industry we are always looking for ways to reduce waste and be environmentally conscious, as it benefits both store operators and consumers. This measure will help further those efforts."
The next time shoppers go to a grocery store, they might want to remember to fill their cars with reusable bags – or it could all add up to a pretty penny when they go to check-out.