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ELECTION BRIEFS: Prop 65 & 67 - Grocery bags

"Day 36/366.....I Voted," by Flickr user Denise Cross Photography. Used under CC BY 2.0. Cropped and overlaid with text.

Proposition 65 is about reusable bags. Namely, the paper bags and thick plastic bags that grocery stores and other stores sell to you and me. It would direct the profits from selling those bags to a new Environmental Protection and Enhancement Fund. So when you buy one of those bags, some of your money will go to wildlife conservation, drought mitigation, and beach clean-up.


On the surface, that’s pretty straightforward. However, there is a caveat. The proposition can only go into effect if there is a statewide ban on flimsier carry-out bags. There is a proposition for that, too: Prop 67. That measure would ban the sale of single-use plastic bags in grocery stores and similar outlets. There is something else, too: Prop 65 channels money into the environment; Prop 67 puts money back into the stores or education funds.

Who’s funding these bag measures? It is pretty much one group: The American Progressive Bag Alliance. That is made up of plastic bag makers, and they are paying millions of dollars to oppose Prop 67 and keep plastic bags in stores. No surprise there.

This is kind of confusing. But here’s what you need to know: If Prop 67 passes, then the sale of single use plastic bags will be banned in California, period. However, if both propositions pass, then the one with more votes will determine where the profits from selling sturdier carry out bags goes. If Prop 65 has more votes, then the revenue will go to the environmental fund. If Prop 67 gets more votes, the money can be used for education or go back to the stores.