Back in the fall of 2014, California became the first state in the nation to legislatively ban single-use plastic bags in major retail stores. Since then, several cities across the nation have passed local ordinances banning single-use plastic bags. States, in general, continue to consider new strategies to reduce the use of these carry out plastic bags from grocery stores and other retail outlets. At least one lawmaker in Nevada is trying to bring regulation into the use of plastic bags in the state, and you or the store may end up getting fined for not complying with the law should it pass.
Helping the Environment
The purpose behind these efforts include mitigating harmful impact to the environment. This includes protecting oceans, rivers, lakes, forests, and the wildlife that inhabit these places. Reducing single-use plastic bags also can have the result of relieving pressure on landfills and waste management. Instead of imposing fees for using these items or instituting an out-right ban of the use of plastic bags altogether, some states are focusing on implementing effective recycling programs.
Waste Management estimates that between 500 billion and 1 trillion plastic bags are discarded annually worldwide. The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration attributes single-use plastic bags as a major contributor to a floating island of trash, known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Plastic bags can cause havoc on land, too. They are unsightly garbage, snag onto bushes and fences, clog water systems, and pile up in landfills.
A Growing Trend
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that approximately 75 bills were proposed in 23 states across the nation between 2015 and 2016 regulating plastic bag use in retail settings.
to regulate plastic bag use in retail settings. In 2009, the District of Columbia banned the distribution of non-recyclable, disposable plastic carry-out bags. In 2012, California’s city of San Jose passed its own single-use plastic bag ban. The following year, the city reported a vast reduction in bag litter in its storm drain system (89%), creeks and rivers (60%) and city streets and neighborhoods (59%).
Nevada is not too far behind. Earlier this year, state legislators were set to consider Assembly Bill 344 (AB 344) presented by Las Vegas Democrat Sandra Jauregui. The bill would mandate retail stores charge customers 10 cents per plastic bag used through December of 2021. The funds collected would be deposited into a Plastic Bag Environmental Cleanup Fund. Retailers who violate the law could face a $500.00 fine. If the measure passes in Nevada, a complete ban on single-use plastic bags at grocery and retail stores would not go into effect until 2022.
If you or someone you know has legal questions, contact the knowledgeable attorneys at Parry & Pfau. Call (702) 879-9555 today to speak to one of our seasoned lawyers.
(image courtesy of Gary Chan)