San Jose, Calif., is the new ground zero for the battle over plastic bags, thanks to a big push by the group Save the Bay called ""The Bay vs. the Bag. The effort got lots of attention yesterday, including an in-depth post by David Lewis (executive director of Save the Bay) on Huffington Post, plus a big story on the San Jose Mercury News Web site. Lewis went straight for the jugular in the blog post, comparing the American Chemistry Council's efforts on behalf of plastic bags to the tobacco industry's support for cigarette smoking.
When the tobacco industry tried suing cities to stop restaurant smoking bans, it fueled public anger and resolve, not a resurgence of puffing. So it is striking to see the American Chemistry Council (ACC) using the same heavy handed tactics against cities trying to reduce or eliminate plastic bags, a dominant feature of urban trash and ocean pollution. From Phoenix to Philadelphia, and Seattle to Washington, D.C., the ACC has unleashed lawyers, lobbyists and PR flacks against local efforts to kick the plastic bag habit. But this attempt to protect industry profits could backfire, because it's based on myths that are flimsier than the bags themselves.Likewise, the Mercury News frames the battle as a David vs. Goliath battle:
Fearing they are losing ground in the battle to eliminate litter-producing plastic bags, members of a leading Bay Area environmental group launched a counterattack Tuesday against a chief foe: the multibillion-dollar chemical industry.If you had any doubt which side is wearing white hats, the story concludes with this quote from Save the Bay's Lewis: "There's a battle on -- it's the bay versus the bag. And we want to make sure the bay wins." Lewis certainly won the PR war on Tuesday. I'm sure ACC will battle back with a timely letter to the editor. Will that be enough?