California plastic bag tax would hit recycling – chem group

03 June 2010 19:58  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--California’s bill to outlaw the use of free, recyclable plastic bags in grocery stores would cripple the state’s successful recycling programmes, a US chemical industry trade group said on Thursday.

At the same time, the measure - passed by the California Assembly on Wednesday by a single vote and set to go into effect on 1 January 2012 - was effectively a “tax” that would add as much a $1bn (€820m) to consumers’ grocery bills, said Tim Shestek of the American Chemistry Council (ACC).

It would actually result in more waste going to landfills, add to greenhouse gas emissions and job losses, he said.

“It was only a short four years ago that the legislature voted for a statewide plastic bag recycling infrastructure,” Shestek said.

“Millions of bags and other plastic film and wraps are being recycled across the state. [The bill] would cripple these programmes and actually result in more waste going to landfills,” he said.

“Why crush the supply of this valuable material when California recyclers are demanding all they can get?”, he asked.

Shestek said he hoped common sense would prevail in the California Senate, which should reject the bill, he said. As it stands, California would be the first US state to enact such a measure.

Last year, lawmakers in Colorado rejected a similar bill to ban the use of plastic bags by large retailers.

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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