Two industry groups plan to ask the American Plastics Council to fund an independent study on the effectiveness of California's trash bag law and its requirements for post-consumer recycled content.
The California Film Extruders & Converters Association and the New York-based Plastic Bag Association seek the study to develop objective data that may lead to improvement of the market for recycled material and possibly less government regulation.
``Trash bag manufacturers need the flexibility to produce at a competitive price without unrealistic mandates, and recyclers need the continuous opportunity to move their recovered materials,'' said Norma Fox, executive director of CFECA in Corona del Mar, Calif.
A California Senate committee killed a 1996 bill calling for modification of a law regulating post-consumer content in trash bags. Now, bags with a thickness of at least three-quarters of a mil must contain at least 30 percent recycled material as of Jan. 1, 1997. Earlier, the requirement was 20 percent.
A dozen trash bag makers and plastics recyclers began building a preliminary recycled-content consensus during CFECA's Nov. 6 video conference.
The conference linked sites in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago.
Trash bag makers and recyclers, ``two main stakeholders,'' need to agree on workable regulation, said Michael Kopulsky of the Encino, Calif., consulting firm Global Priority Advisors. ``Both sides felt an atmosphere of good faith'' during the conference, he said.
Reaching consensus outside the realm of politically charged Sacramento could lead to a 1997 consent-calendar bill, said Kopulsky, who believes an industry agreement would press environmental groups to modify views. The 1997 Legislature convened Jan. 6.
Richard Gurewitz suggests that bag makers use recycled content as a retail marketing tool.
A higher percentage would have ``higher appeal '' to the consumer if sold at the same price, said Gurewitz, president of envelope producer Poly Pak America Inc. in Los Angeles. Poly Pak's envelopes tout their recycled PE content.
Gurewitz and Robert Bateman, president of Roplast Industries Inc. in Oroville, Calif., co-chair CFECA's trash bag committee.
APC is based in Washington.