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Bill seeks to ban plastic bags at California stores

SACRAMENTO — Business groups are supporting a bill that would ban California grocery stores, convenience stores and pharmacies from handing out single-use plastic bags.

Dozens of California cities have adopted similar laws, but proposals for a statewide ban have previously failed in the Legislature.

Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, said Monday that the latest effort, SB405, has support from the California Grocers Association and the California Retailers Association, as well as from environmental groups.

The proposal would ban plastic bags in grocery stores and pharmacies starting in 2015 and in convenience stores and liquor stores by July 2016.

"Single-use plastic bags fill our landfills, clog inland waterways, litter our coastline, and kill thousands of fish, marine mammals and seabirds," Padilla said in a news release.

Only about 5 percent of plastic bags are recycled in California, according to CalRecycle.

A separate bill by Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, would require retail establishments to collect a 5-cent fee for every single-use plastic bag provided to a customer. The money would go into an environmental fund that would provide funding for reducing and cleaning up litter.

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