California Bans Single-Use Plastic Bags

Voters Approve Prop 67 Affirming SB 270, Making California First in the Nation to Enact Statewide Ban

OAKLAND, California – 09 November 2016 -- Californians took a historic step yesterday as it reaffirmed the statewide ban of single-use plastic bags. SB 270 made California the first state to ban single-use plastic bags, proposing to put a halt to the 123,000 tons of plastic bags thrown out each year by Californians.

The Center for Oceanic Awareness, Research, and Education (COARE), applauds fellow Californians for successfully navigating misleading Propositions 65 and 67, thus reaffirming SB270 and simultaneously rejecting a duplicitous attempt to undermine the ban.

This achievement grew from California communities leading grassroots efforts to ban plastic bags in more than 150 cities across the State. The effectiveness of these local bans in reducing litter clean-up costs as well as retailer expenses inspired policy makers to create, pass, and enact SB 270, which was signed into law on 30 September 2014 by California Governor Jerry Brown. As Gov. Brown wrote in his signing statement: "This bill is a step in the right direction – it reduces the torrent of plastic polluting our beaches, parks and even the vast ocean itself," said Governor Brown. "We're the first to ban these bags, and we won't be the last."

"This is a tremendous and reassuring example of people choosing the environment over special interests. Out-of-State plastic giants spent millions to wage war against a handful of non-profits and our environment. We are humbled and encouraged that Californians have chosen this path towards ecological stewardship," said Christopher Chin, COARE's Executive Director. "This law sets a fantastic precedent for future plastic legislation, places utmost importance on preserving our oceans, and the affirmation of this law continues to express that our society has had enough of irresponsible plastic use."

As a part of the Clean Seas Coalition, COARE has worked with a number of organizations to create and support smart legislation such as the Los Angeles County bag ban, the San José ban, SB 270, and now, the affirmation of Prop. 67 and defeat of Prop. 65. Through its "Enough with the plastic already!" campaign, COARE seeks to reduce the amount of oceanbound waste by helping people become more aware of how their habits affect the world around them. COARE raises public awareness of some very commonly overlooked sources of trash, and encourages people everywhere to examine their choices.

The Center for Oceanic Awareness, Research, and Education, Inc. (COARE) is a tax-exempt nonprofit organization based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Its purpose is to study our oceans and increase public awareness of the earth's marine environment through educational programs and outreach. COARE seeks to enlighten people, young and old, to the plight of the oceans, to change the way they think and act, and to encourage them to create positive and lasting change. For more information about COARE, visit


What you can do to help

  • Support "bag-ban" bills in your state or city
  • When you order take-out, tell them you'll bring your own bag, and remind them not to include plastic-ware. Better yet, tell them you'll also be bringing your own containers.
  • Plan ahead, or carry a small collapsible bag in your car or purse for unexpected shopping stops.