California Senate rejects plastic bag ban

By Gayle S. Putrich
Staff Reporter

Published: May 30, 2013 5:21 pm ET
Updated: May 31, 2013 9:01 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Packaging, Film & Sheet, Extrusion, Government & Legislation, Grocery bags

California legislators again failed to approve a state-wide ban on single-use plastic bags. The 18-17 vote in favor of the bill in the state Senate failed to reach the 21-vote threshold for passage.

The Thursday vote marked the eighth attempt to ban plastic bags and tax paper ones in California, where 75 municipal and county laws either banning or taxing bags already exist. In spite of support for Senate Bill 405 from the California Grocers Association and a slew of environmental groups, the state Senate remains the stumbling block for bag legislation.

"Today's vote signals the facts have prevailed in this debate," said Mark Daniels, chairman of the American Progressive Bag Alliance, an interest group representing the United States' plastic bag manufactures and recyclers, in a news release. "A ban on 100 percent recyclable plastic bags would hurt the environment and threaten jobs."

Much of the argument against the most recent measure was made by senators from low-income districts who said their constituents would be hurt financially if required to pay a fee or purchase reusable bags as well as those who listed the myriad household uses for "single use" plastic bags.

The bill, which would have bared grocery stores and big box retailers from handing out single-use thin film bags and require a fee for paper bags, included stiff penalties for businesses: $500 for the first offense, $1,000 for the second and $2,000 per violation for all subsequent infractions. Sen. Ron Calderon (D-Montebello) said such "oppressive" fines were not something the mom-and-pop, minority owned businesses in his district could afford.

"This bill is an attack on low economic areas. It is an attack on minority-owned businesses," Calderon said on the Senate floor shortly before the vote. Opponents also said the bill would cost 2,000 jobs local in the plastics industry, mostly in working-class California communities.

Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), the bill's author, argued that his district is far from wealthy and that his measure was about the environment and actually saving low-income districts money in the long run. "We're already paying for plastic bags," Padilla said. "It's not as if there's not a cost for all families today with the use of single-use plastic bags. There is also the impact, the cost to state and local governments for clean up, the attempts to recycle plastic and plastic bags especially."

The environmental group Californians Against Waste promised that the campaign to eliminate single-use plastic packaging and waste will continue.

CAW said in a statement that consumers are already cutting back single-use plastic bags -- bag consumption in California is at an estimated 14 billion bags per year, down from 21 billion in 2005.

CAW Executive Director Mark Murray said in the release: "... regardless of the outcome of this legislation this year, the fate of the plastic grocery bag is sealed -- the plastic grocery bag, which only came on the scene in the 1970s, will be extinct in California before the end of this decade."


Comments

California Senate rejects plastic bag ban

By Gayle S. Putrich
Staff Reporter

Published: May 30, 2013 5:21 pm ET
Updated: May 31, 2013 9:01 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

PET film maker Evertis expanding production in Mexico, Brazil, Portugal

November 20, 2014 2:52 pm ET

Evertis, a PET film maker, is expanding production at plants in Mexico, Brazil and Portugal, the company said.    More

Image

Coveris changes culture, eyes IPO

November 20, 2014 1:40 pm ET

CEO Gary Masse has a simple message, and some new math, for everyone at Coveris Holdings Corp. Get on board or get out of the way.    More

Image

New York City officials avoid taking a stand on plastic bag fee

November 20, 2014 11:28 am ET

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration claimed Nov. 19 to be committed to dramatically reducing plastic bag consumption in New York City, but ...    More

Image

NS Farrington 'on track' to recycle 1 ton of PE per month

November 20, 2014 10:23 am ET

A polyethylene recycling program created by N.S. Farrington & Co. has passed the 60,000 pound mark.    More

Image

GSE hires industry veteran Bob Preston as new CEO and president

November 19, 2014 11:24 am ET

Geosynthetic liner maker GSE Environmental Inc. has named a new CEO and president: Bob Preston, who left plastics machinery manufacturer Davis-Standar...    More

Market Reports

Plastics in Brazil - State of the Industry Report

This in-depth report examines the Brazilian plastics industry from a historical and geographical context. Our analysts provide insight on economic trends and forecasts, growing manufacturing sectors that utilize plastics, private investment opportunities, market environment challenges, and innovations in R&D.

Data tables and charts on producer prices, trade, plastics production and end market indicators is also included.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Injection Molders Market Report & Ranking 2014

This special package contains our 132-page 2014 Market Report on the Injection Molding segment and our exclusive 2014 RANKINGS database of 500+ Injection Molders for a discounted package price.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

October 27, 2015 - October 29, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - New York - 2015

More Events