It is ironic that the letter from by Patty Long, interim CEO of the Plastics Industry Association, seeks to invoke ethics. The concerns raised by As You Sow and Walden Asset Management about the association's efforts to pass plastic bag pre-emption laws challenge the questionable ethics of using its lobbying power to deprive millions of Americans from exercising their right to enact local bag ban ordinances, which have been demonstrated to be successful and protect their communities from plastic pollution.
Our “attack” is to challenge this effort to curb the right of localities to govern themselves and to preserve their shorelines and rivers. The association's proposed solution to date for dealing with decades of irresponsible generation, use, and disposal of single use plastics is to promote token efforts on education, beach cleanups, and improved recycling, which do not address the core of the problem — excessive use of single use plastics.
Conrad MacKerron is senior vice president at As You Sow. Tim Smith is director, ESG shareowner engagement at Walden Asset Management.