Bag Legislation Activity Increasing for 2013

States are continuing to consider strategies to reduce the number of plastic carry-out bags from grocery stores and other retail outlets. Some states are targeting paper bags as well.

No state has yet to enact a statewide ban, fee or tax. However, Hawaii does have a de-facto statewide ban, as all four counties in the state now ban non-biodegradable plastic bags at checkout as well as paper bags that are not at least 40 percent recycled. Kauai and Maui counties already enforce bans, while Hawaii County’s ban took effect on Jan. 17, 2013. Honolulu County made the ban statewide when it passed legislation in May 2012. Retailers in Honolulu County have until July 1, 2015, to make the change.

In California, CA AB 298—passed the Senate Committee on Appropriations on July 2, 2012. The latest draft of the bill would prohibit stores of a certain size from providing single-use carryout bags to customers. Stores would also be required to provide collection bins where customers could bring their single use bags to be recycled. An example of that type of bin can be found here: www.swalter.com/rekit.html. This bill would also allow a city, county or the state to impose penalties for those in violation of the law. About 50 local jurisdictions in California have imposed local ordinances that ban the use of plastic bags, helping the momentum behind CA AB 298.

In 2009, North Carolina banned plastic bags for the Outer Banks region, a chain of barrier islands off its coast. However, in 2011, the state passed legislation to temporarily suspend that ban due to a tornado that hit Dunn, North Carolina, which is the major distribution center for paper bags in the area. The ban was restored and is being enforced.

There is a lot of legislation being considered in several states for 2013. Make sure to keep checking our website for updates on single use bag legislation that is pending or being implemented. Our retail packaging specialists stay on top of the ever changing market conditions. Let us help you navigate bag legislation in the municipalities you sell into and select the best packaging for your stores. We hope that you will contact us by phone at 888-429-5673 or via email at baglaws@swalter.com