California may scrap a law that mandates recycled content in consumer trash bags.
The California Integrated Waste Management Board is considering revisions in the state's minimum-content requirements for polyethylene trash bags. Industry is monitoring the review closely.
A staff proposal calls for eliminating the general requirement for post-consumer content, while maintaining the requirement of 10 percent content only for bags sold to state agencies.
Meetings during several months with trash bag makers, recyclers and industry groups led staff members to understand that plastic lumber manufacturers use a majority of the market's available post-consumer PE content. The proposal marks a significant shift in strategy for the waste board - when discussions started, the staff actually wanted to increase recycled content.
The item is on the agency's agenda for a May 14-15 meeting in Sacramento and if passed, still would need legislative approval.
``It is still unclear to us as to whether [the board] would try to do something statutorily'' this year or wait until 2003, said Tim Shestek, director of state and local government affairs for the American Chemistry Council's western region in Sacramento.
In line with the industry effort to educate the regulatory agency, several CIWMB representatives have visited the Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., plant of privately owned Heritage Bag Co. this year.
``They are probably more willing to listen, and have been listening more than in the past,'' Frank Ruiz, Heritage Bag technical director, said by telephone from his Villa Rica, Ga., office. ``They are getting more educated in how trash bags are made.''
Carrollton, Texas-based Heritage Bag operates nine plants with annual processing capacity approaching 300 million pounds of polyethylene, split evenly between high and linear low density versions. The firm acquired Himolene Inc. from Clorox Co. in April.