BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  SB 270
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          Date of Hearing:   June 18, 2014

                                  Mike Gatto, Chair

                     SB 270 (Padilla) - As Amended:  May 20, 2014

          Policy Committee:                              Natural  

          Urgency:     No                   State Mandated Local Program:  
          No     Reimbursable:              


           This bill prohibits retail stores from providing single-use  
          carryout bags to customers, and requires retail stores to  
          provide only reusable grocery bags for no less than 10 cents per  
          bag.  Specifically, this bill: 
           1)Appropriates $2 million from an unspecified special fund to  
            CalRecycle for grants and loans for manufacturing conversion  
            and the recycling of plastic reusable bags with recycled  
            content.  Requires grant recipients to retain and retrain  
            existing employees for the manufacturing of reusable grocery  
            bags that meet the requirements of the bill.

          2)Prohibits grocery stores and large retail establishments with  
            licensed pharmacies from providing single-use carryout bags at  
            the point of sale beginning July 1, 2015.  This includes bags  
            made of plastic, paper, or other material that is not  
            reusable, as defined.  Expands the prohibition to convenience  
            food stores and foodmarts beginning July 1, 2016.  Exempts the  
            following from the definition of single-use carryout bag:

             a)   Prescription medication bags.
             b)   Nonhandled bags used to protect products from  
               contamination by other products.
             c)   Bags to contain unwrapped food items, i.e., bulk food  
               from bins.
             d)   Clothing bags placed over hangers

          1)Beginning July 1, 2015, a store may sell or distribute a  
            reusable grocery bag to a customer at the point of sale only  
            if the reusable bag is made by a certified producer and meets  


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            the following requirements:

            a)  Contains a handle and is designed for at least 125 uses  

                  i)        If made from plastic film, contains a minimum  
                    or 20% postconsumer recycled material after January 1,  
                  ii)If made from plastic film, contains a minimum of 40%  
                    postconsumer recycled material by January 1, 2020.
                  iii)Is recyclable in the state and contains applicable  
                    content information.

             a)   Provides a volume capacity of 15 litres.
             b)   Is machine washable or made from a material that can be  
               cleaned and disinfected.

             c)   Has printed or attached to the bag the following  

                 i)       The name of the manufacturer.
                 ii)      The country where the bag was manufactured.
                 iii)     A statement that the bag is a reusable bad and  
                   designed for at least 125 uses.
                 iv)      If applicable, instruction on how to recycle the  
                   bag in the state and the inclusion of the symbol or  
                   term "recyclable" consistent with federal guidelines.

             a)   Does not contain lead, cadmium or toxic materials as  
               specified and complies with recycling claims pursuant to  
               federal law.

          1)Provides additional specifications for reusable plastic bags  
            made from plastic film or natural or synthetic fiber.

          2)Authorizes stores to provide reusable grocery bags, including  
            compostable bags, recycled paper bags, and reusable plastic  
            bags at the point of sale for no less than 10 cents per bag.

          3)Requires stores to provide reusable grocery bags or recycled  
            paper bags to customers participating in the California  
            Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and  
            Children, and other supplemental food assistance programs, as  
            specified, at no cost.


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          4)Allows stores that are not subject to the prohibition to  
            voluntarily comply with the provisions of the bill.

          5)Allows cities and counties or other public agencies that have  
            adopted an ordinance relating to reusable grocery bags,  
            single-use plastic carryout bags, or recycled paper bags, to  
            continue to enforce the ordinance if it was adopted before  
            September 1, 2014.  Any amendments to the ordinances after  
            January 1, 2015 are pre-empted by the provisions of the bill  
            except if the amendment only increases the amount the store  
            charges for a reusable bag to no less than 10 cents.

          6)Requires CalRecyle to establish a schedule and procedure for  
            reusable bag and postconsumer recycled content certifications,  
            including a fee for implementation costs.

          7)Requires CalRecyle to publish a list of approved bags and  
            approved third-party certification entities on its website.

          8)Authorizes a certification process for CalRecycle to:

             a)   Test, inspect, audit grocery bags and  producers.  Audit  
               costs shall be paid by the producer.
             b)   Enter into agreements with s other state entities to  
               conduct inspections and provide enforcement.

          1)Authorizes local government and the state to impose civil  
            penalties of up to $500 for first-time offenders, $1,000 for  
            second violations, and $2,000 for subsequent violations.   
            Proceeds from these penalties shall be paid to the city  
            attorney, city prosecutor, district attorney or Attorney  
            General that brought the action. 

           FISCAL EFFECT  

          1)$2 million unspecified special fund appropriation to  
            CalRecycle to establish a loan and grant program for reusable  
            plastic bag manufacturing machinery and facilities conversion  
            and worker training.  

          2)Significant one-time costs and ongoing costs to CalRecyle,  
            potentially in the $1 million to $1.4 million range to oversee  
            and implement the program, including $500,000 or more for  
            evaluation, bag testing and data compiling requirements.


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          3)Significant revenue increase for stores resulting from  
            reusable bag charges paid by customers.  

            Assuming the minimum 10 cent charge required by the bill,  
            stores would receive additional revenue of $100,000 for every  
            million bags sold.  It is estimated that up to 14 billion  
            single-use plastic bags are used in California annually.      


           1)Rationale.   According to the author, California uses an  
            estimated 14 billion single-use plastic bags a year.   
            According to CalRecycle, currently, less than five percent of  
            single-use plastic bags are recycled.  

            The environmental impact of single-use plastic bags is  
            well-documented.  Plastic bags comprise 10% of marine debris  
            and take more than 1,000 years to break down.  Reusable bags  
            have a lower overall impact than single-use bags.

            The author contends plastic bags cause litter, slow sorting  
            and jam recycling machinery costing Californians millions to  
            collect and bury plastic bag waste.  The author is carrying  
            this bill to ban plastic bags on a statewide level thus  
            reducing litter and marine debris.  
           2)Background.   According to Californians Against Waste, an  
            estimated $34 million to $107 million is spent by local  
            governments to manage plastic bag liter in the state.  

            The Natural Resources Defense Council estimates California  
            cities spend about $11 per resident to keep litter from ending  
            up in our oceans as marine pollution alone.   Although plastic  
            represents a relatively small fraction of the overall waste  
            stream in California by weight, plastic is the most prevalent  
            form of marine debris.  Plastics are estimated to comprise 60%  
            to 80% of all marine debris, and 90% of all floating debris.  

            According to the California Coastal Commission, the primary  
            source of marine debris is urban runoff, to which lightweight  
            plastic bags and plastic film are particularly susceptible.   
            Due to the interplay of ocean currents, marine debris tends to  
            accumulate in certain areas of the ocean.  


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            Most plastic marine debris exists as small plastic particles  
            due to excessive UV radiation exposure and subsequent  
            photo-degradation.  These plastic pieces are ingested by  
            marine organisms and have been proven to negatively affect  
            over 250 animal species worldwide.

           3)Local Bag Ordinances.   According to the Califonian's Against  
            Waste website, at least 100 cities and counties and public  
            agencies throughout California have adopted ordinances banning  
            plastic bags including San Francisco, San Jose, Long Beach,  
            Los Angeles County, Los Angeles City, Santa Clara County,  
            Alameda County.  Many of these local governments also require  
            stores to charge a fee for a paper carryout bag, and a few  
            have banned both single-use plastic and paper carryout bags.   
            By January 1, 2015, local bans will cover over 1/3 of the  

           4)Pollution Control or Profit?   SB 270 requires stores to charge  
            not less than 10 cents for both paper bags and reusable bags.   
            Some of the previous bills on this issue directed fee revenues  
            to be used for litter and pollution prevention, as well as  
            stormwater, sewer and water treatment facility problems  
            associated with bag debris. 

            Some local ordinances, for example, Los Angeles County, allow  
            the money generated by bag purchases and retained by stores to  
            be used only for the stores' costs of compliance, actual costs  
            of providing recyclable paper carryout bags, or costs for  
            educational materials/campaigns encouraging the use of  
            reusable bags.

            Although charging for reusable bags may encourage people to  
            bring their own bags, none of the revenue raised by this bill  
            is dedicated to local government liter control efforts.

           5)Support.   This bill is supported by numerous environmental  
            groups, local governments, labor organizations and the State  
            Lands Commission, all of which cite the environmental benefits  
            and removal cost savings associated with switching to reusable  

            This bill is also supported by major retail stores who are  
            burdened by different requirements throughout California's  
            jurisdictions and prefer a statewide standard, even if it is  
            only going forward.


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            6)Opposition.   This bill is opposed by several paper and plastic  
            bag manufacturers and some local governments.  Manufacturers  
            argue this bill will create detrimental economic situations  
            and job loss.   Opposition is also concerned that this bill  
            unfairly includes recycled paper bags in the fee provisions,  
            without cause.  Others contend this bill is a partial plastic  
            bag ban that actually encourages the use of heavy duty plastic  
            bags without providing specific recycling programs.
            7)Previous Legislative Attempts.   Since 2007, numerous attempts  
            to ban or charge fees for non-reusable bags have all failed in  
            the Legislature.
            8)Related Legislation,  This session, SB 405 (Padilla) is  
            substantially similar to this bill.   
            SB 405 died on the Senate Floor.  AB 158 (Levine) was passed  
            out of this committee in January but placed on inactive by the  
            author on the Assembly floor.  AB 158 did not contain a  
            minimum fee for reusable bags.

           Analysis Prepared by  :    Jennifer Galehouse / APPR. / (916)