Beyond Plastic

84 city and county officials submit letter in support of banning plastic bags

Staff | TPIN
City and county officials from across California voice their support to fully ban plastic bags in the state. You can read their letter below:

Dear Legislature,

On behalf of the below city and county officials, we write in strong support of SB 1053 and AB 2236, which end the use of thicker plastic bags in grocery stores and convenience stores and reduces California’s dependency on plastic. In 2014, California passed the nation’s first ban on plastic bags. SB 270 (Padilla) required all plastic bags used in grocery, convenience, and retail stores that include grocery, to be reusable. After a decade under SB 270, it has become clear that California has not eliminated plastic grocery bags. The standards for reusable bags have resulted in exempt bags that are still made of thicker plastic, high-density polyethylene, or HDPE. 

However, relatively few consumers re-use these exempt plastic bags for shopping. Investigative reports found that even when the bags were returned to the store for recycling, many still found their way to landfills. CalRecycle’s statewide residential disposal reports suggest that over 5 billion bags in this category may have been landfilled in 2021, marking a significant reversal from several years of declining disposal. Since 2018, plastic bag waste by weight in California actually increased from 139,00 tons to 231,000 tons, which is the highest level on record.

SB 1053 and AB 2236 would eliminate the existing exemption of plastic film bags and require grocery and certain retail stores to no longer provide these bags to their customers. Further, SB 1053 and AB 2236 increase standards for reusable bags to ensure they are not replaced by a new version of an HDPE bag with plastic film material, or a non-plastic bag that can be easily damaged and is not durable. Lastly, SB 1053 and AB 2236 increase the recyclability standard of paper bags to be made from 50% post-consumer recycled materials.

Given that cities are preempted by SB 270 from banning thick plastic bags, cities have had to bear the financial and logistical burden of managing this issue, without having the power to address it on a local level. Most -if not all- of California recycling centers do not even accept HDPE bags for recycling. The Los Angeles Times reached out to municipal and city recycling centers across the state and were “unable to find a single one that accepts HDPE bags for recycling.”

From production to disposal, plastic waste is detrimental to the environment and human health. Plastics are primarily made from fossil fuels, and the extraction and refinement of fossil feedstocks for plastics release an array of toxic substances into the air and water, including known carcinogens and neurotoxins. Upon disposal, plastic does not biodegrade, and toxic chemicals released from plastics damage soil quality and leeches into groundwater. Plastic bags are one of the most found pollutants in our seas, and marine life ingests microplastics that are detrimental to their health. Therefore it is necessary to curb California’s plastic production as much as possible to preserve our environment and health.

For these reasons, we support SB 1053 and AB 2236 to reduce plastic waste in California by closing the exempt bag loophole at grocery stores and retail grocers to further a sustainable future.


Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft, Mayor, Alameda
Lena Tam, District 3 Supervisor, Alameda County
David Oro, Vice Mayor, American Canyon
Stacy Miles Holland, Councilmember, Atherton
Jorgel Chavez, Councilmember, Bell Gardens
Donna Colson, Mayor, Burlingame
Michael Brownrigg, Councilmember, Burlingame
Sergio Lopez, Vice Mayor, Campbell
Teresa Acosta, Councilmember, Carlsbad
Elizabeth Alcantar, Vice Mayor, Cudahy
Yasmine-Imani McMorrin, Mayor, Culver City
Freddy Puza, Councilmember, Culver City
Kashef Qaadri, Councilmember, Dublin
Michael McCorriston, Councilmember, Dublin
Carlos Romero, Councilmember , East Palo Alto
John J. Bauters, Councilmember, Emeryville
Scott Bauer, Councilmember, Eureka
Jenny Kassan, Councilmember, Fremont
Lily Mei, Mayor, Fremont
Jay Vandenburg, Councilmember, Galt
Daniel Brotman, Councilmember, Glendale
Paula Perotte, Mayor, Goleta
Harvey Rarback, Vice Mayor, Half Moon Bay
Angie Reyes English, Councilmember, Hawthorne
Alexandre Monteiro, Councilmember, Hawthorne
George Syrop, Councilmember, Hayward
Ariel Kelley, Councilmember, Healdsburg
Chris Herrod, Councilmember, Healdsburg
Justin Massey, Mayor, Hermosa Beach
Leslie Marden Ragsdale, Councilmember, Hillsborough
Rolan Resendiz, Vice Mayor, Hollister
Kathleen Treseder, Councilmember, Irvine
Maria Pacheco, Mayor, Kerman
Jack Shu, Councilmember, La Mesa
Susan Candell, Councilmember, Lafayette
George Weiss, Councilmember, Laguna Beach
Jose A Moran, Mayor, Livingston
Janice Hahn, Board Supervisor, Los Angeles
Juan Muñoz-Guevara, Councilmember, Lynwood
Dennis Rodoni, Board of Supervisors President, Marin County
Brianne Zorn, Mayor, Martinez
Eduardo “Eddie” De La Riva, Mayor, Maywood
Wendy Root Askew, Supervisor, Monterey County
Teresa Onoda, Mayor, Moraga
Katherine Aleman, Councilmember, Norco
Rachel Farac, Councilmember, Novato
Christine Boles, Councilmember, Pacifica
Tygarjas Twyrls Bigstyck, Councilmember, Pacifica
Felicia Williams, Councilmember, Pasadena
Shivaugn Alves, Councilmember, Patterson
Kevin McDonnell, Mayor, Petaluma
Jen Cavenaugh, Mayor, Piedmont
Valeria Arkin, Councilmember, Pleasanton
Elizabeth Ontiveros-Cole, Councilmember, Pomona
Zein E Obagi Jr, Councilmember, Redondo Beach
Kaia Eakin, Councilmember, Redwood City
Gayle McLaughlin, Councilmember, Richmond
Susan Hollingsworth Adams, Mayor, Rohnert Park
Caity Maple, Vice Mayor, Sacramento
Patrick Kennedy, District 2 Supervisor, Sacramento County
Tarrell Kullaway, Vice Mayor, San Anselmo
Mark Enmeier, Mayor Pro-Tem, San Clemente
David Cohen, Councilmember, San Jose
Sarah Zarate, Director of Administration, Policy, and Intergovernmental Relations, San Jose
Xouhoa Bowen, Councilmember, San Leandro
Laura Capps, Supervisor, Santa Barbara County
Joan Hartmann, District 3 Supervisor, Santa Barbara County
Das Williams, 1st District Supervisor, Santa Barbara County
Lisa Gillmor, Mayor, Santa Clara
Otto Lee, District 3 Supervisor, Santa Clara County
Felipe Hernandez, Supervisor, Santa Cruz
Manu Koenig, 1st District Supervisor, Santa Cruz County
Oscar de la Torre, Councilmember, Santa Monica
Kristi Becker, Councilmember, Solana Beach
David Zito, Councilmember, Solana Beach
Lesa Heebner, Mayor, Solana Beach
Jill W. MacDonald, Councilmember, Solana Beach
James Coleman, Mayor, South San Francisco
Larry Klein, Mayor, Sunnyvale
David Polivy, Mayor, Town of Truckee
Scott Sakakihara , Councilmember, Union City
James Breitling, Mayor Pro Tem, Upland
Charles Palmares, Councilmember, Vallejo
Elizabeth “Lise” Talbott, Councilmember, Waterford
Debora Fudge, Councilmember, Windsor


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