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The California Court of Appeal has affirmed California’s cities’ right to ban single-use plastic bags.

The court agreed to publish its unanimous decision to uphold San Francisco’s plastic bag ban in a December 10 decision, creating a legal precedent on which other cities may rely. The ruling sets the stage for more cities to adopt local laws phasing out plastic bags, and to strengthen their existing laws by expanding them to include restaurants.

Environment California Research & Policy Center, the City and County of San Francisco, the California League of Cities, and the California State Association of Counties all filed motions asking the court to publish its opinion. Plastics industry plaintiffs may still appeal the decision to the California Supreme Court.

So far, 90 California local governments have banned single-use plastic bags. Together, these jurisdictions represent nearly one in three Californians.

Published in the March 2014 Edition of American Recycler News