This September, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill to ban single-use plastic bags in grocery and convenience stores throughout the state. The bill made California the first state to issue a statewide ban of this kind.
If this sounds familiar to UC Davis students, it is because the city of Davis became one of many individual cities to adopt a similar ordinance on July 1. Davis City Ordinance 2422 was prompted into action in part by a 10,000-signature petition from UC Davis students. The city of Davis became a part of nearly 100 cities in California to instate the plastic bag ban. In 2011, only 15 California cities and counties were involved.
In addition, the representatives of Davis in the State Assembly and the State Senate, Mariko Yamada and Lois Wolk respectively, voted to pass the plastic bag ban and have been consistent in their support of environmental sustainability. We commend these representatives for voting to pass a bill that over 10,000 students showed their support of.
With the amount of plastic that is currently filling our landfills and failing to biodegrade, it is essential that California takes this step in the right direction. The San Jose Mercury News reported that studies conducted in San Jose showed that the number of people walking out of grocery stores without bags skyrocketed from 13 percent to 44 percent, while plastic bag litter dropped considerably. While these statistics are promising to see in San Jose, we are excited to see them extend to the entire state.
We commend UC Davis students for pushing to create tangible change in the Davis community, which clearly played a part in moving the state toward approving the statewide plastic bag ban. Likewise, the UC Davis community as a whole has taken measures to remain at the top of environmentally-sustainable practices, evident in the new massive solar farm in the process of being built in Davis, south of Interstate 80.
The California-wide single-use plastic bag ban is a great first step to move the rest of the nation toward ending the use of an unnecessary and wasteful product. Hopefully this movement, which ran directly through Davis, catches on throughout the country. We are glad that Davis continues to be at the forefront of environmental issues.