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On September 30th of this year, Governor Jerry Brown of California signed off on a long-debated bill that institutes a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags. The ban will prohibit the bags at grocery stores and pharmacies as of July 2015, and at convenience stores by the following year. California is the first state to approve such a law, allowing grocers to charge 10 cents each for paper and reusable bags. Additionally, it provides $2 million in state loans to assist manufacturers in adjusting to the new regulations.
Environmentalists and bill authors say that the law is an effort to reduce pollution in the streets, beaches, and waterways of California. Opposing forces, including plastic bag manufacturers, maintain that the law could threaten many jobs across the country. Nevertheless, Gov. Brown is confident that others will follow California’s lead, saying, “We’re the first to ban these bags, and we won’t be the last.”
The passing of this law sets a precedent that is beneficial for the nonwoven and paper industries. Several states have already begun the process of moving away from plastic bags, with Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York all considering the implementation of a tax on the single-use bags. As more areas move away from these products, the demand for alternatives will undoubtedly increase. Nonwoven and paper products can serve as the alternative that both consumers and retailers need in order to fill the void left by plastics.
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