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|Support Letter Approps Committee for Orgs_AB68|
Assemblymember Kevin de León
Chair, Assembly Appropriations Committee
State Capitol, Room 2114
RE: AB 68 (Brownley) -- Single-Use Bag Reduction Act: SUPPORT
Dear Chair de León and Members of the Committee:
On behalf of [name of your organization] I write to express our support of Assembly Bill 68, the Single-Use Bag Reduction Act. AB 68 will charge a fee for single-use plastic, paper and compostable plastic bags at point of sale at supermarkets, retail pharmacies and chain convenience stores beginning in 2011. The vast majority of the revenue generated from the fee will go to local governments for trash abatement and litter prevention related to single-use bags.
[Name of organization] is concerned with the environmental and economic impact of plastic bag pollution in inland and coastal communities throughout the state. Californians use an estimated 19 billion single-use plastic bags every year. The state spends $25 million annually to clean up and landfill these littered bags and this figure does not even include the over $300 million that local governments continually to spend to clean littered streets and waterways.
We can no longer recycle our way out of this problem. Despite efforts to expand recycling programs, less than 5% of these bags are currently being recycled. The rest of these bags either end up in our landfills or in the ocean via storm drain systems where they may never degrade and are a persistent threat to wildlife. It is estimated that 60–80% of all marine debris, and 90% of floating debris is plastic.
AB 68 is an effective policy approach that will encourage consumers to choose more sustainable alternatives such as reusable bags by charging a 25-cent fee for every plastic and paper carryout bag at the checkout. This fee can be avoided entirely if customers simply bring their own reusable bags to the store. It’s a simple approach that has worked in
AB 68 is a sound policy because it focuses on reducing waste at the point of use. Revenue generated from the fee would be distributed to local governments and state programs for purposes pollution prevention, abatement and cleanup related to single-use carryout bags. AB 68 would still allow cities greater flexibility to employ effective tools to help achieve their waste reduction goals. Giving this flexibility to local communities to clean up trash-impaired waterways is critical for the reduction of litter and marine debris.
[name, title, organization]