SACRAMENTO, Calif. (NEWSnet/AP) — California would ban all plastic shopping bags in 2026 under a new bill announced Thursday in the state Legislature.

The state already bans “thin” plastic bags at grocery stores and other shops, but shoppers at checkout may purchase bags made with a thicker plastic that purportedly makes the containers reusable and recyclable.

Sen. Catherine Blakespear said people are not reusing or recycling those bags on a frequent basis. She points to a state study that found the amount of plastic shopping bags trashed per person grew from 8 pounds per year in 2004 to 11 pounds per year in 2021.

“It shows that the plastic bag ban that we passed in this state in 2014 did not reduce the overall use of plastic. It actually resulted in a substantial increase in plastic,” Blakespear said Thursday. “We are literally choking our planet with plastic waste.”

Twelve states, including California, already have some type of statewide plastic bag ban, according to Environment America Research & Policy Center. Hundreds of cities across 28 states also have their own plastic bag bans in place.

California Legislature passed its statewide ban on plastic bags in 2014. The law was affirmed by voters in a 2016 referendum.

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