California Bans Plastic Bags! WooHoo!!!


I only moved to California 5 weeks ago, and already, I’m rubbing off on the state. (Haha! I kid; if only that were true, cigarette-butt flickers would be fined $100 a tossed cig, there would be free fresh juice given away to everyone who uses public transportation, and other things that you might do if you are an Eco-Chick).

But seriously, this evening, governor Jerry Brown announced a plastic bag ban for the ENTIRE state—and check your maps, California is HUGE! in case you forgot.

From the Sierra Nevadas to the Pacific, from NorCal to SoCal, from Hollywood to Hippie enclaves, from desert to redwoods, plastic bans are now a shrinking commodity, less likely to pollute our lakes, streams and the oceans, blow into trees and stay there approximately forever, and less likely to get eaten by marine animals. Maybe this will help shrink the Pacific Garbage Gyre, just a bit, and it will definitely mean less pollution on beaches (I always find plenty of plastic bags to pick up! See video below.)


“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,” Governor Brown wrote in a signing message. “We’re the first to ban these bags, and we won’t be the last.”

Which state will be next? Massachusetts? Jersey? Rhode Island? Maybe Puerto Rico? California joins cities including Seattle, Chicago, Austin, and Washington, D.C.

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Main image courtesy Bag Monster on Flickr


Starre Vartan is founder and editor-in-chief of and the author of the Eco-Chick Guide to Life. She's also a freelance science and environment writer who has published in National Geographic, CNN, Scientific American, Mental Floss, Pacific Standard, the NRDC, and many more. She lives on an island in Puget Sound with her partner and black cat. She was a geologist in her first career, and still picks up rocks wherever she goes.