California Governor Signs Statewide Single Use Plastic Bag Ban into Effect
The grocery and retail industry in California is facing major changes. Today Governor Jerry Brown signed off on SB 270, making California the first in the United States to enact a full statewide ban on single-use plastic bags. Grocery stores and pharmacies will be expected to fully transition away from single-use plastic bags by July 2015, and convenience stores and liquor stores will be subject to the same legislation by 2016.
“This bill is a step in the right direction – it reduces the torrent of plastic polluting our beaches, parks and even the vast ocean itself,” said Governor Brown in a press release from the Governor’s Office. “We’re the first to ban these bags, and we won’t be the last.”
While SB 270 is the first statewide plastic bag ban be enacted as law, California has been pushing in this direction on a piecemeal basis for years on the local government level. More than a hundred cities and counties throughout the state, from Salinas and Monterey County down to Laguna Beach and Los Angeles County, have already taken the initiative to enact plastic bag bans or taxes ahead of state legislature.
Still, the passage of SB 270 will have some major effects for grocery stores and pharmacies in the many remaining counties, cities, and towns that have not already banned plastic bags on their own. But the bill has taken this into account, and has included provisions with the associated stress of transition in mind. As stated, retailers have several months to get everything in order. In addition, CalRecycle has helped the state government to provide $2 million in loans to help retailers make the transition and create reusable bags to offer for consumers.
This has been a controversial issue, but the most important consideration is how the statewide grocery store industry feels about the decision – and as the California Grocers Association stated back at the beginning of the month when SB 270 passed the state senate, the trade association and the state’s grocers on the whole have taken a positive stance in support of SB 270s passage into law, point to out-of-state plastic manufacturing interests as responsible for the majority of the opposition. As long as the industry remains on the new law’s side, we should see a smooth transition over the course of the year to come.
Lidl's climate targets and carbon neutral ambition
Discount retailer Lidl has announced its aim to reduce CO2 emissions from its own operations.
By 2030, Lidl aims to reduce its operational emissions by 80% across all 32 countries it operates in.
Lidl lowering prices and carbon emissions
To achieve this, Lidl will focus on cutting carbon emissions across its retail stores and distribution centres in a number of ways:
- Solar panel installation on all new stores, where possible
- Improving overall energy efficiency through investment in the latest refrigeration and lighting technologies
- Lidl will operate 350 electric vehicle charging points at its stores by 2022
- The company will also oblige suppliers, representing 75 % of product-related scope 3 emissions, to commit to their own climate protection targets according to the methodology of the Science Based Targets initiative, by 2026
- Lidl will continue to support farmers in Lidl GB’s Grassroots programme, to conduct develop carbon reduction plans.
Lidl’s ambitious targets to make a significant contribution
Lidl has been building partnerships with other suppliers to boost sustainability, such as its initiative with Wyke Farms to produce a supermarket-first carbon neutral cheddar and Lidl’s commitment to ban peat from its compost range by 2022.
“With the UK hosting COP26 in November, this is a crucial year in the fight against climate change and we recognise our responsibility to reduce our emissions to help tackle this important issue”, said Christian Härtnagel, CEO at Lidl GB. “As part of the Schwarz Group, Lidl has a presence in 32 countries around the world and more than 310,000 employees globally. We’re therefore one of Europe’s largest retail businesses and through these ambitious targets we hope to make a significant contribution by not only rapidly decarbonising our own operations but also supporting our suppliers to do the same. As a discounter, it is ingrained in us to be constantly looking to maximise efficiency and reduce waste. Whether it’s how we heat and light our stores, or how we transport food from our suppliers to our warehouses, we are continuing to find ways to cut emissions across our business.”