Voters Uphold California Plastic Bag Ban Despite Moneyed Opposition By Big Plastic

Oakland, Calif. November 9, 2016 – Voters have upheld California’s state ban on plastic bags in the face of moneyed opposition by out-of-state bag corporations.

The victory preserves the United States’ first statewide bag ban, signed into law in 2014, and will protect California’s environment and wildlife.

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Clean Water Action California Director Miriam Gordon said: “Big Plastic tried to buy our election, and they lost. They spent millions, ran misleading advertisements and even filed two competing measures to try to confuse voters. A yes vote on proposition 67 wins a David-and-Goliath-style victory for the environmental movement against an opposition that massively out-spent us. Californians have shown their national leadership on this issue and we look forward now to seeing more statewide bag bans across the country.”

Inspired by the efforts of California campaign groups, Rep. James E. Smith Jr. (D-Richland County) has now pledged to introduce a statewide bag ban bill in the South Carolina House of Representatives, modeled after California’s law.

Smith’s state is home to Novolex, the world’s largest manufacturer of single-use plastic bags, and the largest funder of the effort to overturn California’s bag ban. Clean Water Action and its fellow campaigners at environmental organization Save The Bay staged a demonstration outside Novolex headquarters in October, urging the company to “stop killing our fish and wildlife with your toxic plastic bags”.

Rep. Smith said: “This has inspired me to make South Carolina better by introducing a single-use plastic bag ban here. Our state’s businesses know better than to chase short-term profits at the expense of the environment.”

Clean Water Action reached more than 700,000 people with social media posts on the bag ban in the run-up to the election, and more than 50,000 people signed a petition to Novolex CEO Stan Bikulege asking him to stop meddling in out-of-state elections.

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