Why One California City is Still Allowing Plastic Bags

California’s plastic bag ban went into effect immediately following the passage of Proposition 67 on Nov. 8. But there’s at least one town where you can still have your groceries cloaked in old fashioned polyethylene.

“As plastic bags are taken off checkout counters across California, one Placer County suburb says its businesses are protected from the statewide plastic bag ban,” the Sacramento Bee reports. “In August 2014, Lincoln passed a resolution intended to allow businesses to choose whether or not to follow a statewide bag ban. Now that voters have upheld the ban by voting in Proposition 67, Lincoln says its businesses are exempt.”

As the Bee notes, the legislation that Proposition 67 ratifies does contain a clause allowing public agencies to continue enforcing and implementing plastic bag ordinances that were adopted before September 1, 2014. But Mark Murray, executive director of Californians Against Waste, said the clause was meant to refer to the many cities that enacted their own restrictions on plastic bags before that date—not cities looking to escape the statewide prohibition. Only Lincoln chose to interpret it this way, he said.

For now, it's up to individual grocers in Lincoln to decide whether or not they'll hand out complimentary bags with purchase. 

Read more about the controversy over Lincoln’s plastic bags here.


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