Hilex Poly and ChicoBag settle dispute over misleading statements on bags

Published: September 15, 2011 6:00 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Packaging, Sustainability, Public Policy, Film & Sheet, Recycling

HARTSVILLE, S.C. (Sept. 15, 2 p.m. ET) — A lawsuit that claimed reusable bag manufacturer ChicoBag Co. was making false and misleading statements on its website and in its advertisements about plastic bags has been settled out-of-court.

ChicoBag and plastic bag manufacturer Hilex Poly Co. LLC of Hartsville, S.C., separately announced the resolution of the lawsuit Sept 13.

Under the terms of the settlement, ChicoBag has agreed to provide full citations — including sources and dates — for all facts and statistics on its web pages, its advertisements and other company materials with the exception of labels and hang-tags.

“This settlement is a win for consumers. The use of false and misleading statements is injurious to the marketplace, and this settlement ensures that facts are accurate,” said Mark Daniels, vice president of sustainability for Hilex Poly. “While all parties are entitled to their own opinions [about plastic bags], Hilex Poly believes that everyone should be careful to be accurate in the facts presented.”

ChicoBag, based in Chico, Calif., revised 11 of the 16 claims on their Learn the Facts web page 72 hours after the lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court in early April.

As part of the settlement, ChicoBag also agreed not to use outdated data from archived websites of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and to make an undisclosed financial payment to Hilex, Hilex said.

The initial lawsuit had also included plastic bag manufacturers Superbag Corp. and Advance Polybag Inc., but they decided to drop out of the lawsuit.

One of the points of contention in the lawsuit was the recycling rate of plastic bags, with ChicoBag claiming that the plastic bag industry inflated the plastic bag recycling rate significantly by including non-bag plastic wrap and plastic film.

Both EPA and the American Chemistry Council publish recycling rates for plastic film that include plastic wrap, plastic film and plastic bags. There is no specific breakout for plastic bags.

In a statement, ChicoBag said that Hilex had agreed to report a specific recycling rate for plastic bags, and to also print a message on its bags suggesting that users to tie plastic bags into a knot after use to prevent windblown litter, and to further discuss ways to prevent windblown litter on their website.

For its part, ChicoBag said it will inform visitors to its Learn the Facts website that reusable bags should be washed when dirty, and inform consumers that plastic retail carryout bags are only a subset of plastic bags in ocean debris.

“Ultimately, I hope this settlement will encourage Hilex Poly and the rest of the plastic bag industry to refrain from filing any future frivolous lawsuits, stop attacking reusable bags, and instead invest their dollars into reducing unnecessary single-use bag consumption and litter,” said ChicoBag president and founder, Andy Keller, in a statement.

Hilex Poly is the largest plastic bag manufacturer in the U.S., and has aggressively fought proposed plastic bag bans and proposed fees on plastic bags in the U.S. It has 1,250 employees and has put in place 30,000 recycling bins across the U.S., as part of its Bag-2-Bag recycling program that began in 2004.

It also operates a plastic bag recycling plant in the U.S., located in North Vernon, Ind., which, in 2011, is expected to recycle 25 million pounds of plastic films and plastic shopping bags. That’s up from 20 million pounds in 2010 and 10 million pounds in 2009.

All the plastic bags, plastic wrap and plastic film recycled by Hilex are reused to make plastic bags.


Comments

Hilex Poly and ChicoBag settle dispute over misleading statements on bags

Published: September 15, 2011 6:00 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

How CEO Santi is changing ITW

April 23, 2014 2:48 pm ET

Scott Santi is showing he can do more than just cut costs at Illinois Tool Works Inc.    More

Image

Unilever puts Dove brand on a MuCell diet

April 23, 2014 1:57 pm ET

New technology employed by Unilever NV in the manufacture of bottles for its Dove Body Wash range of products could end up saving the brand owner up...    More

Sale of Romanian PVC producer Oltchim assets postponed again

April 23, 2014 1:35 pm ET

The long anticipated privatization of insolvent Romanian PVC producer Oltchim has been postponed yet again, this time until mid-May.    More

Image

Coffee roaster looks to improve footprint of single cup systems

April 22, 2014 1:30 pm ET

One of the largest coffee and tea manufacturers in North America has introduced a single-serve beverage capsule intended to curb the waste created by ...    More

Some medical devices could get faster approval with new FDA rules

April 22, 2014 7:41 pm ET

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is proposing an expedited approval for medical devices for devices aimed at the diagnosis or treatment of patien...    More

Market Reports

Market Data Book - Rankings & Lists

A one-stop download of Plastic News' exclusive annual lists and processor rankings containing essential data including sales, employees, end markets, materials and more.
EXCLUSIVE EXCEL FEATURE: full mailing address details for available plant locations.

Learn more

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report provides analysis and discussions of economic and political conditions, market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies. In addition, there are reviews of 25 leading thermoformers in the packaging segment, assessing their growth initiatives and performance metrics over 10 years.

Learn more

Mold Making and Tooling Review and Outlook 2014 North America

This report provides in-depth analysis of the mold and toolmaking market for North America, including discussions of trends, opportunities, threats, the latest developments in production and labor and equipment trends impacting moldmakers.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

May 6, 2014 - May 8, 2014Plastics in Medical Devices 2014

May 12, 2014 - May 12, 2014Plastics News Brazil Pharma Summit

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

February 3, 2015 - February 7, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events