Allyson Wilson (202) 249-6623
November 11, 2010

Current proposal may violate new state mandate; Bag makers suggest an alternative approach

LOS ANGELES, CA (November 11, 2010) - Citing the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors' potential violation of voter approved Proposition 26, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) submitted  a letter to the board this week. 

ACC noted that California Proposition 26, passed with strong voter support in early November, expresses the view that many so-called fees hit consumers in the pocketbook more like taxes, and that they should be evaluated and voted upon - with the same attention and care that taxes are.  If the proposed fee on paper bags is a regulatory fee under Proposition 26, it cannot proceed on a routine Board vote - a 2/3 vote would be needed.

"The voters have clearly spoken in California that they are tired of getting hit with what amounts to consumer taxes thinly disguised as fees," said Tim Shestek, ACC's Senior Director of State Affairs.  "Given that Proposition 26 has just passed, it's critical that the Board carefully examine how Proposition 26 applies to the bag ordinance before attempting a vote." 
The proposed ordinance, which would prohibit grocery and other retail outlets from providing customers with fully recyclable plastic bags and require those same stores to charge customers $0.10 for each paper bag, may need to be put to a 2/3 Board vote in order to be legal under Proposition 26.  If passed, the ordinance would unnecessarily raise grocery costs for county residents and hurt workers and small businesses.  Furthermore, not one penny of this fee would go toward helping improve environmental quality. Grocers and other retailers get to keep all the proceeds.

ACC supports alternatives to reducing bag litter and waste.  "ACC and its members sponsored alternative legislation last legislative session that supported recycling and storm water pollution prevention programs statewide," Shestek noted.  "We prefer an approach that involves all stakeholders in crafting a statewide solution that enhances recycling, protects consumer choice and doesn't punish shoppers and manufacturers," he added.
"We believe there are more consumer and business friendly ways of reducing bag litter and waste that do not result in raising grocery costs for families, put at risk manufacturing jobs in the Los Angeles area, or require more government bureaucracy."

In fact a recent report prepared by Moore Recycling found that curbside recycling of plastic bags and wraps grew 39 percent in Los Angeles County from 2007 to 2009. The recycling of plastic bags alone grew 62 percent during this period suggesting that Los Angeles residents have become accustomed to putting their plastic bags into their curbside recycling bins.

ACC continues to support working with all stakeholders to craft a statewide solution that enhances recycling, protects consumer choice, and doesn't punish consumers or manufacturers.

The letter to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors can be read in its entirety here .

Learn more: Plastic Bag Facts | Progressive Bag Affiliates (PBA)


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