L.A. Plastic Bag Ban Challenged While Other Cities Continue Adopting Legislation
Los Angeles County's ban on single-use plastic bags is being challenged by one of the industry's largest manufacturers. Hilex Poly Co. LLC has appealed last month's Los Angeles Superior Court ruling that upheld the ban and maintained that it does not violate California law.
The initial lawsuit was brought by a group of manufacturers lead by Hilex Poly. In their filing, the group cited California Proposition 26, which stipulates that the state cannot disguise a new tax as a fee, a practice that local legislators had used to increase revenue for the state. Hilex Poly's case stated that the 10 cent charge for paper bags built into the law was effectively a tax, a claim Superior Court Judge James Chalfant refuted.
"Los Angeles County's bag 'charge' circumvents the law and violates the intent of Proposition 26," said Mark Daniels, Hilex Poly's vice president of sustainability and environmental policy. "We welcome an open debate about bag bans, but in this case, they were implemented against the will of the voters."
While the ban in L.A. is being challenge, it is being emulated in other cities. The city of Ukiah became the latest in California to ban the use of disposable plastic bags in a unanimous vote yesterday. The measure will be adopted on May 2 and go into effect on November 2. San Mateo County, located in the San Francisco Bay area, is seeking input from the community on a proposed bag ban. Outside of California, Bainbridge Island in Washington passed a bag ban last week, and a state-wide ban in Vermont was approved by state senators and is pending the passage of a related bill.
The spread of disposable bag bans creates new opportunities for distributors. Nearly all of the passed or proposed legislation requires the targeted retailers to offer paper bags at a 10 cent charge as an alternative, but also strongly encourage the stores to sell and customers to purchase reusable shopping bags, one of the most popular items in the promotional products industry. With the threat of expensive fines for failing to comply with the law, it becomes easy to encourage end-buyers to invest in branded bags.
Related story: Los Angeles Plastic Bag Ban Goes Into Effect July 1