This year, on election day, California voters approved a ballot measure to make their state a whole lot greener…
Proposition 67, also known as the California Plastic Bag Veto Referendum, was approved by a 52%-48% margin, making single-use plastic bags illegal in all 58 California counties.
The landmark referendum comes in the wake of two key preceding decisions: San Francisco’s city-wide ban on plastic bags in 2007, and California’s state legislature voting to pass a state-wide plastic bag ban in 2014. The popular referendum vote on November 7th essentially ratified the state assembly’s 2014 decision.
Californians Against Waste, “…one of the oldest and most accomplished environmental advocacy organizations in [the] country…” led the ground game for the plastic bag ban. They repelled a rigorous, $6 million campaign funded by large out-of-state plastic corporations, who obviously wished to see the referendum fail.
Hawaii was the first American state to pass any sort of comprehensive statewide ban of plastic bags, but the law was unfortunately undermined by a loophole that permitted stores to sell thicker, “reusable” plastic bags that actually ended up being worse for the environment.
Other countries, such as Morocco, have banned plastic bags. France has banned all plastic cups, plates and utensils.