The Orion

Plastic bag ban draws mixed reaction from students

Michael Mcclurg

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Pedro Gonzales, Chico State chemistry graduate, carries his groceries to his car outside of Safeway on Friday. The recently instituted ban took Gonzales by surprise, and he decided not to pay for a paper bag. Photo credit: John Domogma

The sale of single-use plastic bags has been banned in major stores around Chico since Jan. 1 and the effects are coming to light.

Though many people have accepted the ban, there remain a few who hold out against buying bags — paper and reusable ones alike.

“Instead of paying 10 cents, a lot of people try to carry everything,” said Kelsey Cast, a 21-year-old communications major who works at the Chico State Wildcat Store as a sales associate and cashier.

As of Jan. 1, businesses in Chico that have total sales of at least $2 million or that have more than 10,000 square feet of retail space will no longer provide plastic bags to customers at the checkout counter.

This includes about 37 stores in Chico such as Safeway, Wal-Mart and the Wildcat Store. Customers are able to purchase a paper bag for 10 cents or a 25-cent reusable bag offered at some locations if they want something to carry their goods out easily.

However, customers who are a part of CalFresh or other low-income, government- subsidized programs will not be charged for bags. Plastic bags without handles that are used for produce and bulk items are excluded from the law.

This ban will affect convenience stores and other smaller businesses starting Jan. 1, 2016, which means that starting next year, every store from Target to 7-Eleven will no longer offer plastic bags for their patrons.

Despite the few people holding out against the ban, students are generally accepting of the law.

“I don’t really care one way or the other,” said 22-year-old senior Matt Holzschuh. “I think it has its benefits. It’s annoying to pay the price, but it’s not hard to just save bags and it’s not a huge price. I’m for taking measures to help the environment, but I feel like plastic bags from grocery stores are only a fraction of the problem so you aren’t going to see much of a change.”

Stefanie Kral, a 22-year-old psychology major, also commented on the new law.

“I just think that there is so much plastic in this world and slowly but surely we should try to reduce it,” she said.

The low cost of purchasing paper bags should not affect student’s budgets, Kral said.

“What is 10 cents going to do to you? Are you going to go bankrupt? I think that’s stupid when people make that comment,” she said.

Feedback about the new law has reached the ears of administrators and staff members alike. Store manager Emily Dehnke at S&S; Organic Produce and Natural Foods noted that they’ve “had more praise than complaints” from customers in regard to the ban.

This policy is ahead of Senate Bill 270, the statewide plastic bag ban that will take effect in July.

Michael McClurg can be contacted at [email protected] or @michaelmcclurg on Twitter.

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Plastic bag ban draws mixed reaction from students