Paper or Plastic: One Day There May Not Be A Choice

One state passes a ban on plastic grocery bags and, if signed into law, would become the first-of-its-kind in the country.

They're sturdy, convenient and free at the check out. But what would you do if plastic grocery bags disappeared?

"It would probably be an uproar," says Adrian Chapman, a bagger at the Piggly Wiggly on Dickinson Avenue in Greenville.

"I don't see anything wrong with using the plastic bags," says shopper Pat Conway.

If signed into law, next summer Californians won't have a choice between paper or plastic. Bring a canvas bag or pay 10 cents for paper.

At the Piggly Wiggly that would be a big change.

"90 percent of the bags that we use are plastic bags," says Chapman. "You don't find a lot of people who use the other bags."

Environmentalists say the ban on plastic is needed. It can take up to 1,000 years for these bags to degrade in a landfill.

"We're creatures of habit and we're not used to bringing them to the grocery store," says shopper Olga Batista. "But we'll get used to them if it would happen they ban the plastic bags.

Reuse-It, a pro-recycling organization, says plastic bags are the second most common type of trash found in our waters.

Dare, Currituck and Hyde counties currently ban plastic bags in the Outer Banks. It's the only ban in the state and took effect in 2010 as a way to preserve the beaches.

As for the bill, it's headed to California Governor Jerry Brown's desk and must be signed into law by September 30.