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California Bill Would Only Allow Recycled Paper or Reusable Bags

California State House

Identical bills, SB-1035 and AB-2236, that would only allow stores to provide 100% recycled paper bags or reusable grocery bags not made from plastic film material beginning in 2026, were introduced in the California Senate and Assembly on February 8, 2024. Current law prohibits stores from providing most single-use carryout bags. However, reusable plastic film products that are capable of carrying 22 pounds over a distance of 175 feet for a minimum of 125 uses and are at least 2.25 mils thick are allowed. (For background information on the current law, see the article, After the Ban.)

SB-1035 and AB-2236 would revise the requirements for reusable grocery bags sold by a store to a customer to eliminate any that are made from plastic film materials. The bills would also revise the definition of “recycled paper bag” to made from 100% postconsumer recycled materials, without exception. 

The bills would allow certain exceptions to the ban on single-use bags. These include bags used solely to contain or wrap specified uncooked foods and other specified items to avoid contamination, prevent damage from moisture, or ones used for sanitary, public health, or environmental protection purposes.

SB-1035 was introduced by Sens. Catherine Blakespear (D-Encinitas) and Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) and AB-2236 was introduced by Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda). Both bills may be heard in committee on March 10, 2024.