California may be on the verge of signing the country’s first plastic bag ban into law.
The California Senate voted 22-15 for the bill, which must be signed into law by Sept. 30 by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown.
If signed, the measure would ban grocery stores from doling out single-use plastic bags to customers. Instead, the measure will see some $2 million provided to local plastic bag companies to manufacture heavier, multi-use bags that customers could buy.
A number of cities and counties in California and other U.S. states have made it illegal for grocery stores to issue plastic bags to customers, but the latest vote at the State Legislature is the first time a state-wide law could be on the books.
In California, there is particular concern that the bags could harm aquatic life if swept out to the ocean.
More than 10 billion plastic bags are used in California annually, according to an estimate by Californians Against Waste, an advocacy group supporting the bag bill.
The governor’s office says he hasn’t taken a stance on the bag bill, which if signed, comes into force in July 2015.