Quick Plastic Bag Ban Changes Catch Shoppers by Surprise

Quick changes at stores around San Diego following passage of Proposition 67 have caught many shoppers by surprise.

The plastic bag ban narrowly passed on Tuesday, capturing 52 percent of the vote. In response, several store chains were already eliminating plastic bags from stores and charging for paper bags.

The law doesn’t take effect until Dec. 9, when elections results are certified, according to Yes on Prop 67 officials. But already, stores such as Walmart and Von’s were charging for reusable or paper bags to gear up for the new law.

That quick switch, however, was lost on a large number of San Diegans.

“I was not aware it was coming this soon,” said Walmart shopper Sally Martinez.

Many shoppers on Thursday were carrying their items outside in shopping carts sans bags. One shopper used a storage container to haul her purchases to her car.

“I wasn’t thinking about the bag situation and the Tupperware just happened to be on my list, so when I got to checkout that’s convenient,” said shopper Amira Satchi.

The new law only affects stores selling groceries, liquor or those with pharmacies. That means stores such as Dollar and Petsmart are exempt, as are restaurants.

The law didn’t outline a specific amount stores should charge, but did call for at least 10 cents per bag.

“Ten cents adds up,” one shopper said. “Sometimes you have a lot of bags, so I’d rather bring my own bags.”

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