Press Release

Sen. Blakespear’s Legislation to Ban Plastic Bags Passes Senate Committee

SB 1053 close loopholes to California’s initial ban to ensure consumers are using either reusable bags or are offered paper bags at grocery store checkouts

SACRAMENTO – Legislation by Sen. Catherine Blakespear, D-Encinitas, to ban the use of plastic bags at grocery store checkouts passed the Senate Environmental Quality Committee on Wednesday.

SB 1053 closes the loophole to the original ban on plastic bags enacted 10 years ago that has allowed stores to sell customers thicker plastic bags because they technically could be recycled. The truth is almost none of those bags are recycled and they end up in landfills, polluting the environment.

“Plastic waste is destroying our environment and jeopardizing our planet,” said Sen. Catherine Blakespear, D-Encinitas. “A plastic bag has an average lifespan of 12 minutes and then it is discarded, afflicting our environment with toxic microplastics that impact our oceans and landfills for up to 1,000 years. SB 1053 will dramatically cut California’s plastic bag pollution.”

SB 1053 builds on California's environmental legacy by strengthening regulations on the use of plastic bags. This legislation stops the use of plastic film bags that are currently sold at checkout to consumers by most stores. Those type of bags were allowed in the original ban on single use plastic bags passed in 2014 because they were deemed recyclable and reusable.

However, the bags are difficult to recycle – and so few are ever recycled – and they are seldom reused. Instead, they have contributed to California’s growing plastic waste. According to CalRecycle, the amount of grocery and merchandise bags disposed by Californians grew from 157,385 tons of plastic bags the year California passed the bag ban to 231,072 tons by 2022 – a 47% increase!  

The legislation tightens standards for reusable bags and requires stores to provide 100 percent recycled paper bags or let consumers use reusable bags.

SB 1053 is supported by 86 different organizations, including Californians Against Waste, California Public Interest Research Group (CalPIRG) Students and Heal the Bay. The bill goes next to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration.

Elected in 2022, Sen. Blakespear represents Senate District 38, which covers northern San Diego County and part of Orange County. To learn more about the district and Sen. Blakespear, visit her Senate website.