California bag ban would undercut recycling - chem council

08 June 2010 00:18  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--A ban of plastic carryout bags now being considered in the California legislature would undo efforts to provide greater plastic recycling options at grocery stores, an American Chemistry Council (ACC) official said on Monday.

“The unintended consequence of this bill is that it does essentially repeal a requirement that grocery stores have bins for consumers to bring back [plastic] material, not just bags,” said Tim Shestek, the ACC’s senior director for state affairs.

“While this is being pitched as an environmental bill, it is eliminating a very convenient recycling option.”

Regional plastic bag manufacturers in southern California have been outspoken about the effect the bill would have on their business and workforce, he said.

The bill, AB 1998, would prohibit grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies and liquor stores from distributing single-use carryout bags for free, and would require stores to charge at least 5 cents/bag for bags made of recycled paper.

The rules would take effect in 2012 or 2013, depending on the type of business.

The bill passed the California state assembly last week and was to be considered by the state senate, where two policy committees would hold hearings before a vote expected later this summer.

Shestek said the ACC would meet with legislators in the coming weeks to gauge support for the bill, which was backed by the grocers association.

“The grocers’ support doesn’t equate to support across the board for the broader business community,” he said.

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By: David Barry
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