‘Progressive’ Plastic Bag Lobbyists Stall California’s Bag Ban

February, 2015

Over the past several years, plastic bag manufacturers have spent millions of dollars swaying legislators away from approving proposed bag ban bills. Over 100 cities and counties have already banned single-use plastic bags, and efforts to expand those bans to a single statewide approach have long been supported by environmental activists, grocers and most state residents. Last year, Senate Bill 270 finally passed and a move toward a cleaner California seemed assured. Californians thought the battle was finally over.

Unfortunately, backed by an industry primarily headquartered outside California, the American Progressive Bag Alliance then began a referendum drive and soon announced they’d gathered more than enough signatures to qualify for placement on the general election ballot. Now each county must do random sampling to determine legitimacy. If enough prove valid, the referendum goes to the 2016 November ballot, effectively ensuring plastic bag manufacturers have another two years to profit to the tune of an additional $145 million according to Californians Against Waste.

Meanwhile, other municipalities’ bans will remain in place. Unfortunately for most of Humboldt County, momentum toward a county-wide ban stalled out while supervisors waited to see if the state bill would pass. That momentum has been almost completely lost in the wake of the referendum. In January, a majority of the Board of Supervisors spoke against pursuing an ordinance, calling it too restrictive and not the best use of resources, despite strong support from waste management agencies. Third District Supervisor Mark Lovelace proposed encouraging voluntary efforts and following with an ordinance if those efforts failed to manifest. The other supervisors balked at the ban inclusion, however, so the motion was changed to only include mention of voluntary efforts and passed unanimously.

Currently, only the City of Arcata has passed a bag ban in Humboldt County.

 

UPDATE:

Challenge to statewide bag ban prompts push for local ordinance
- Times-Standard, 1/27/15

Challenge to statewide bag ban prompts push for local ordinance

 

Challenge to statewide bag ban prompts push for local ordinance