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Environment & Climate Change

As Michigan counties consider plastic bag regulation, California offers insight

Lawmakers want to head off local laws regulating plastic shopping bags.
Flickr user Kate Ter Haar
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Washtenaw and Muskegon counties hope to ban plastic bags. The Michigan Senate wants to prevent that kind of regulation.

The Michigan Legislature has itself a showdown — over plastic bags.

Washtenaw and Muskegon counties were planning to ban stores from providing plastic bags to customers in order to tackle problems like litter and waste.

The Michigan Senate is looking to head off efforts like that. It's passed a bill to prohibit local legislatures from banning plastic bags. The bill's backers claim it’s not fair to retailers with stores in multiple counties across the state.

How have plastic bag bans fared elsewhere? Have retailers been harmed by the legislation? Have these bans reduced litter and waste?

Back in 2012, when San Francisco was getting ready to impose its plastic bag ban, critics voiced concerns over how sanitary reusable grocery bags are, and whether consumers would embrace the regulation. But according to Dave Heylen, vice president of communications at the California Grocers Association, those concerns just didn't bear out:

Heylen joined us today to give us a look at how plastic bag bans have worked in the state of California.

GUEST
Dave Heylen is the Vice President of Communications at the California Grocers Association.

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