By Staff Reporters
No containers of any kind for anything will be permitted under California's new law, as signed by Governor Jerry Brown last March. From today forward, everything must be sold in bulk; consumers may take products home by bringing their own reusable jars, boxes, cans, and other containers.
"It's a stupendous day for freedom," said Brown. "Freedom from pollution!"
"This is great for the environment of California, and a great means to set an example for the entire nation," says Alice Koklamara, 49, president of Californians Against Noxious Trash, a grassroots organization that lobbied hard for the new law. "Millions of tons of trash that would have clogged California's landfills and rivers will now never exist. It's just splendid!"
But consumer Peter Freid, 53, of San Bernardino, expresses reservations. Speaking to reporters in the parking lot of his local Stater Brothers supermarket, while cupping sliced pickled beets in his hands, Fried says, "This is the stupidest thing I ever heard of. There's people in there with dirty old jars getting filled up, people walking around holding raw meat. Someone's going to get sick. We're all using the same spoon to ladle things. Can this possibly be sanitary?" Sighing, he adds, "How am I supposed to drive home like this?"
In the store, many people were confused, trying to figure out the application of the law, and lines were long as cashiers tried to deduce how much to charge consumers for products in cereal bowls, Tupperware, plastic tumblers, pockets, and whatever else people had around the house. "We're resorting to dickering," says cashier Terri Skyu, 18, of Redlands. "It's taking longer, but I think most folks still feel like they're getting more for less, as our slogan says. I hear at Safeway there are fistfights in the aisles, but not here! Yet, anyway."
"It's just another example of what Californians can do when we pull together," says Koklamara. "We've always been very forward-thinking in this state. When people ask me, 'What will it take until you lunatics are satisfied?' I just laugh and say, 'What else you got?'"