Proposition 65 – NO

The Carry-Out Bag Revenue Initiative redirects money collected from the sale of carry-out bags by grocery or other retail stores to a special fund administered by the Wildlife Conservation Board. It was placed on the ballot by the plastic bag manufacturers to turn the grocery industry and consumers against the plastic bag ban.

An existing state law, which has yet to be implemented (see Prop 67), would ban chain grocery stores and liquor/convenience stores from providing single-use plastic bags. Instead consumers would either buy a recyclable paper bag for 10¢ or bring their own reusable bags to the store. This 2014 law is supported by the conservation community because of the damage that single-use plastic bags cause the environment and because it promotes recycling. The grocery chains went along with the law because they would get to keep the 10¢ per paper bag charge, which would cover their costs and then some.

Prop 65 would simply redirect the 10¢ per paper bag charge from the grocery stores to a fund supporting conservation. This change in who gets to pocket the 10¢ per paper bag is supported by the plastic bag industry and opposed by the grocery chains. The plastic bag industry has raised over $5 million as of August 2016 in support of Prop 65, while the opposition has raised almost no funds.

If Prop 65 passes, the grocery stores would no long be allowed to keep the 10¢ per paper bag charge and would likely pass on their costs for paper bags to the customers, resulting in a slight increase in grocery costs for consumers. Proponents of this measure claim that a large amount of money will be generated for conservation projects; opponents say a lesser amount would be generated.

Prop 65 is without real significance – really a squabble between the plastic bag and grocery industries – designed by the former to distract from the issue of phasing out plastic shopping bags. The priority is to vote YES on Prop 67 to continue efforts to keep wasteful single-use plastic shopping bags out of the environment.