California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

    The era of disposable plastic bags is over

    On Sept. 30, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that will ban the use of plastic disposable bags. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Brown said, “This law is a step in the right direction- it reduces the torrent of plastic polluting our beaches, parks and even the vast ocean itself.”

    While this law will not take effect until July 1, 2015, many stores and restaurants have already taken measures to ensure the safety of the environment. Stores like Whole Foods and Wal-Mart provide the option of reusable bags, at a small cost to customers.

    According to the Los Angeles times, the law ensures that stores will only be allowed to distribute paper bags, or reusable plastic bags.

    Whole Foods is one of many companies who have a head start on others in terms of going green.

    “We took a stance on plastic bags already as a company, we’ve stopped using plastic bags for probably about two years now,” said Solomon Costanza, Whole Foods Thousand Oaks location’s store team leader.

    Whole Foods explains in their online “Green Mission” statement that, “Actions speak louder than words…we’ve been trying to make green choices since we opened our first store. We understand that companies can have a large impact on our environment.”

    Costanza explained that while Whole Foods still offers paper bags, they try to promote the reusable bags.

    “We are really trying to reduce all the trash in the environment,” Costanza said.

    Banning the use of plastic bags is listed as one of the ways Whole Foods has chosen to go green in an attempt to preserve the earth’s resources.

    On Wal-Mart’s website,, users can find a whole section dedicated to global responsibility.

    In this section, according to Wal-Mart, “Our aspirational goal of achieving zero waste across our global operations is bold, but we continue to make measurable progress.”

    They too list plastic bags as an issue when it comes to helping the environment stay clean. According to the website, “One-time-use shopping bags represent a tremendous opportunity to reduce the amount of waste being sent to landfills.”

    Going green is a trend that has made its way through local restaurants too.

    One of Westlake Village’s most popular Mexican restaurants, The Sea Casa, is doing its part by using organic resources.

    “All of our Tupperware is biodegradable. The bowls, the cups, and even the bags,” said Chaya Boks, Herbert’s daughter and a Sea Casa employee.

    She said her family is proud to own a restaurant that cares about the preservation of the environment, and feels that reusable or biodegradable bags should definitely be a requirement in stores and restaurants.

    California Lutheran University has it’s own group of environmental safety promoters, in the form of the SAGE (Student Alliance for a Greener Environment) club.

    According to the club description on says that, “The purpose of the Student Alliance for a Greener Environment is to promote and encourage sustainable and environmentally friendly practices on CLU campus by students, faculty, and staff.”

    Freshman biochemistry major, Savannah Sipes, will be a new member of the club this year. She has always been interested in protecting the environment, and said that she plans to make a career out of it.

    Sipes is keeping up with laws that will affect the earth’s resources.

    “I think banning the use of plastic bags is a great step towards showing people the importance of using reusable materials such as tote bags,” Sipes said.

    In July 2015, California will be the first state to ban the use of plastic one-use bags statewide, according to Los Angeles Times reporter, Patrick McGreevy.

    McGreevy said Governor Brown would be fulfilling a promise he made to the people of California.

    “Brown had promised during a gubernatorial debate earlier this month that he would sign the bill,”McGreevy said.

    While Brown’s promise will be only an extension to measures being taken, for others, it will mean changing the way they distribute their products. Either way, businesses will be required to think about the way they are impacting the environment.


    Rachael Maurer

    Staff Writer

    Published October 8, 2014