California lawmakers have passed a bill that could ban single-use plastic bags in the state, the first such ban in the U.S., trade publication PlasticNews reported.
If the bill is signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, single-use plastic bags will be eliminated from all California retailers, including grocery stores and drug stores.
Plastic and paper bag manufacturers continue to oppose the legislation and the American Progressive Bag Alliance (APBA), a group of plastic bag manufacturers founded to lobby against possible bans, issued a statement voicing its concern over the ban.
"It's disappointing that members of the Assembly voted to advance a bill that threatens 2,000 California manufacturing jobs, hurts consumers and puts billions of dollars into the pockets of grocers — without providing any benefit to the environment," APBA's chief executive Lee Califf said in a statement.
Environmentalists have been demanding bans on the use of plastic bags, claiming that they create piles of trash that is difficult to recycle. In California, there is concern that plastic bags can cause damage to ocean wildlife, news agency Reuters reports.
Cathy Browne, general manager at Crown Poly, a plastic bag manufacturer in Huntington Park, told Reuters that the bill would lead to layoffs at companies like hers.
More than 10 billion plastic bags are used in California each year, according to an estimate by Californians Against Waste, an advocacy group supporting the bill.