California first state to ban plastic bags

Single-use plastic bags will be banned at many stores in California starting next year after Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill prohibiting their use, the governor’s office announced this morning.

The ban takes effect for California pharmacies and grocery stores next July and will expand to convenience stores and liquor stores the following year, according to Brown.

More than 120 local governments have already enacted similar bans, including San Francisco and Alameda County.

In a statement today, Brown said the bill is a step in the right direction:

“(This bill) reduces the torrent of plastic polluting our beaches, parks and even the vast ocean itself. We’re the first to ban these bags, and we won’t be the last.”