California transitions to paper and reusable bags

Alyssa Slattery, news editor

On Sept. 30, 2014, California became the first state in America to officially prohibit stores from handing out plastic bags for free at the state level. Even though this new law will not go into effect until July 1, 2015, stores are preparing for the change that will keep our community of Carlsbad just a little bit cleaner. When the law goes into action, customers will have the choice to either use reusable bags, recycled paper bags or bags made out of compostable materials.

“By transitioning to reusable bags, we will get rid of a lot of the plastic waste people throw out because we find a bunch of bags floating around in the parking lot,” Albertsons employee and junior Braedon Lash said. “Although, from a bagger’s point of view, some people don’t take care of their reusable bags, and they hand them to us all crumpled up.”

These reusable types will replace the traditional plastic grocery bag, but will also come with a small cost.  The transition is proving to be a bit more difficult for the older generation.

“People are having mixed emotions about it because some older customers want us to double bag everything, and I don’t know if they will want to keep paying 10 cents for every bag,” Lash said.

The extra 10 cent fee may be a burden for some, but research has shown that more than 13 million plastic bags are found in waterways and landfills every year and do not decompose for decades.  When California decided to ban plastic bags, the state made history with this greener change.

“With global warming and pollution, I think that it is fair for them to charge a slight price on bags,” Lash said.

Reusable bags cost a little extra but will last tons of grocery trips over the years.  Not only will the environment benefit from this change, but the stores as well.  Stores spend millions of dollars on plastic bags every year.

“The use of reusable bag will bring a positive change for the environment, while also bringing in more income for the store,” Albertsons employee and junior Sierrra Kreutzer said.

This transition will change all of California and help our beaches, parks and ocean become cleaner and more enjoyable for both locals and tourists.

“This will make Carlsbad a lot cleaner and happier,” Lash said. “In the future, you won’t see plastic bags everywhere.”