Can’t get enough of SB 270 in California?

With February over and hopefully bringing Spring to many of us, the status of SB 270 is also changing. As of February 25, 2015 SB 270 has been suspended. Let’s review how we got here:

  • Remember in 2014, the California legislature passed and Governor Brown signed SB 270. This legislation bans single-use plastic bags and mandates a ten cent minimum tax and post-consumer recycled content criteria on paper bags. This was big news, because California became the first state to pass statewide bag legislation.
  • However, industry opponents launched a referendum campaign to place SB 270 on the ballot. This is because if a referendum is qualified, voters will be given the final decision on the legislation. Over 800,000 signatures were submitted.
  • The referendum has qualified. Now, SB 270 will be suspended pending the outcome of a statewide vote in November 2016. This also allows other municipalities in California to move forward with their own bag legislation again!
  • California also has SB 1253. This is a comprehensive reform of California’s initiative and referendum process. SB 1253 allows anyone to seek a legislative fix to “matters embraced” in a referendum. It also permits proponents to withdraw a referendum at any time before it is qualified for the ballot.

    Now that the SB 270 referendum qualified, proponents will no longer be able to withdraw the referendum, and a statewide vote in November 2016 will decide SB270 fate. However, the legislature may still consider amendments to the suspended sections of SB 270. If legislation is passed, the referendum vote will still take place, and if SB 270 survives the vote, it would be subject to any amendments passed by the legislature before the vote. For example, if a bill removing the paper bag tax were to pass the legislature, yet voters upheld SB 270 at the ballot, SB 270 would go into effect without the paper bag tax.

    In California, all legislation must have been introduced by February 27 for action in 2015. Assembly member Matthew Harper (R) introduced two bills; AB 190, which would repeal SB 270 in its entirety, and AB 191, which would amend SB 270 to remove the ten cent tax on paper bags.

    Make sure to keep checking our website for updates on all single use bag legislation that is pending or being implemented. We are sure to see more California cities and counties implement their own ordinances now that SB 270 will not be decided until November 2016. 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

California statewide ban signed!

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed the nation’s first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags – SB 270 – today. This makes California the first state in the United States to have a bag ban for the entire state.

The legislation was authored by Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima). Under SB 270, plastic bags will be phased out of checkout counters at large grocery stores and supermarkets such as Walmart and Target starting next summer, and convenience stores and pharmacies in 2016. The law does not apply to bags used for fruits, vegetables or meats, or to shopping bags used at other retailers. It allows grocers to charge a fee of at least 10 cents for using paper bags.

For nearly 10 million Californians, life without grocery bags is not new. Today over 120 local governments in California have passed ordinances banning single-use bags. These local ordinances will be grandfathered in and will supersede the state wide ban. All cities and counties that did not have bans approved prior to today, will now follow the state wide ban.

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

Chicago Approves Plastic Bag Ban

Chicago, the nation’s third largest city, has become the latest U.S. city to approve a ban on plastic shopping bags.

The City Council voted overwhelmingly in favor of a partial plastic bag ban in Chicago. The proposal passed with a vote of 36-10.

The new ordinance will first go into effect in August 2015, when retailers occupying stores that are more than 10,000 square foot will no longer be allowed to offer plastic bags. Chain stores—defined as three or more under the same ownership—or franchise stores larger than 10,000 square feet. The ban will be extended to smaller chain stores and franchises in August 2016. Small independent or non-franchise stores and restaurants will not be affected by the legislation. Restaurants are exempt.

Last year, the nation’s second largest city, Los Angeles, California adopted plastic bag regulations. New York City, the largest city in the U.S. is currently considering a plastic shopping bag proposal.

Listed below are the United States’ largest cities that have passed plastic shopping bag regulations

Rank City Plastic Bag Regulations
2 Los Angeles, CA Passed plastic bag ban, June, 2013
3 Chicago, IL Passed plastic bag ban, April, 2014
9 Dallas, TX Five cents fee, plastic or paper, March, 2014
10 San Jose, CA Passed plastic and paper bag ban, December, 2010
11 Austin, TX Passed ban on plastic and paper bags, March, 2012
14 San Francisco, CA Passed plastic bag ban, April, 2007
22 Seattle, WA Passed plastic bag ban, December, 2011
24 Washington, D.C. Five cents fee, plastic or paper, July, 2009
28 Portland, OR Passed plastic bag ban, July, 2011

Our retail packaging specialists continue to stay on top of the changing markets. 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.

San Francisco Lawsuit

In California Cities and Counties have been implementing plastic bag bans.  Along with that come lawsuits.

Recently, San Francisco’s bag ordinance won its latest and final legal battle when the California Supreme Court unanimously rejected a petition to review a Court of Appeals ruling.  The appellate ruling in December affirmed a lower court ruling that San Francisco’s bag ban for all retail stores and restaurants did not violate the California Environmental Quality Act, nor was it preempted by CA Retail Food Code.

This is the third time a petition for review on a bag ban ruling has been rejected by the Supreme Court. Last year, two separate petitions on the Los Angeles County and Marin County bag ordinances were both filed by the industry and rejected.

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.

California and their quest to be plastic bag free

The state of California just reached a milestone for local bag bans. The City of San Rafael adapted an ordinance banning single use plastic bags in grocery, convenience and drug stores. This is the 100th city or county in California to be covered by a plastic bag ban.
California is also working on passing SB 270 (Padilla and de León). This would ban single-use plastic grocery bags in grocery stores by July of 2015, and expand to cover other markets, convenience stores, and drug stores one year later. Similar to the local ordinances that have banned single-use plastic grocery bags, recycled paper and reusable bags would still be available for purchase (10 cents minimum). It will not pre-empt local ordinances already in place. However, cities and counties that do not have an ordinance in place if SB 270 passes, will have to follow SB 270 and cannot implement their own ordinance on the issue.

SB 270 is also raising questions in the environmental circles because the bill provides no clear-cut directions as to who enforces the bill.

No specific agency would be responsible for enforcement of the law. Here is what the bill states under Article 4: Enforcement:

42285.(a) Except as provided in Section 42282.2, a city, a county, a city and county, or the state may impose civil liability in the amount of five hundred dollars ($500) for the first violation of this chapter, one thousand dollars ($1,000) for the second violation, and two thousand dollars ($2,000) for the third and subsequent violations. (b) Any civil penalties collected pursuant to subdivision (a) shall be paid to the office of the city attorney, city prosecutor, district attorney, or Attorney General, whichever office brought the action. The penalties collected pursuant to this section by the Attorney General may be expended by the Attorney General, upon appropriation by the Legislature, to enforce this chapter.
(c) The remedies provided by this section shall not be exclusive and shall be in addition to the remedies that may be available pursuant to Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 17200) of Part 2 of Division 7 of the Business and Professions Code.

Issues like this surrounding SB 270 may lead to a rush of cities and counties in California to push through their own ordinances this spring and summer to beat the September 1, 2014 vote deadline.

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.

Bag Bans Effective Starting 2014

The New Year is upon us and while much of the country is hoping for warmer weather and dreaming of spring, CA is starting off the year with new bag legislation going into effect.

LA City’s ban on disposable plastic grocery bags goes into effect January 1, 2014. LA is the nation’s largest city to pass a bag ban. It was approved in June 2013 and becomes affective now.

Several other California cities bag bans also start on the first of 2014, including Richmond, San Pablo, Pittsburg and El Cerrito. Glendale’s current plastic bag ordinance in larger grocery stores expands to include convenience and drug stores as well as smaller grocery stores. Coming in February, bans will be effective in Arcata and Los Gatos and more to follow on Earth Day in April.

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.

Court Hearing on San Francisco Bag Legislation

Every day, new cities, counties and states contemplate bag regulations.  They also are reviewing what issues they may face if such an ordinance is implemented.  Recently the City of San Francisco closed their court case on bag regulations.

The California’s Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, affirmed San Francisco’s plastic bag ban and upheld a lower court ruling in favor of the City.  The appellant must also pay to recover the City’s costs in dealing with yet another lawsuit from the industry.

San Francisco passed the first plastic bag ban in the nation in 2007. In 2012, the City expanded its ban to include all retail stores and restaurants.  The city was then sued by the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition (SPBC) on the basis that the City had failed to comply with California Environmental Quality Act requirements and had included restaurants in the ban.

SPBC argued that the ordinance would potentially result in significant environmental impact, triggering the need for a full Environmental Impact Report rather than the Categorical Exemption that was used, and also argued that California Retail Food Code preempted the banning of plastic carryout bags in restaurants.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Teri L. Jackson delivered a verbal ruling in favor of San Francisco and its plastic bag ordinance in September of 2012, summarily rejecting both arguments from SPBC. SPBC then challenged the ruling in California’s First Appellate District Court.

The oral argument on the appeal was held on November 12, 2013. The Court of Appeals released its disposition, written by Justice Paul Haerle and concurred by Justice James Richman and Justice Anthony Cline:

“The judgment is affirmed. Respondents shall recover their costs on appeal.”

The Court found that SPBC had failed to establish that the City had erred in choosing a Categorical Exemption or that its ordinance met an “unusual circumstance” exception.  Additionally, the Court of Appeal agreed with the Superior Court that the bag ordinance was not preempted by the Retail Food Code because it did not establish any health or safety standards: “the 2012 ordinance regulates single use checkout bags, not food safety.”

A total of 90 cities or counties across the state of California, including the inland communities of Davis, South Lake Tahoe, and Truckee, have voted to ban plastic grocery bags. Roughly one in three Californians is living in one of those communities. 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.

Using Bags in the California?

Los Angeles Update:

Restaurants and retail shops are exempt from the LA bag ban. The Los Angeles Bag Ban on single use disposable bags will take effect on Jan. 1, 2014, at grocery stores and pharmacies.

Los Angeles City Bag Ban targets the t-shirt style plastic bags offered at grocery stores and pharmacies.  Are all shapes and sizes of plastic bags banned? Not all plastic bags are banned.

Bags allowed are:

  • Produce bags used for bagging vegetables, fruits and meats, and pharmacy bags;
  • Restaurant bags;
  • Hardware stores bags (e.g. Home Depot, Lowes and others); and
  • Select retail stores bags (e.g. Macy’s, JC Penny, Ross, TJ Maxx, and others).

 

What types of stores are included in the ban?

  • Large stores with gross annual sales of over $2 million selling dry groceries, canned goods, or nonfood items and perishable items or stores of at least 10,000 square feet of retail space generating sales or use tax and has a licensed pharmacy are included in the ban (e.g. Ralphs, Target, Walmart, Vons, Food 4 Less, 99cent Only Stores, Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, and others).
  • Small stores such as drug stores, pharmacies, supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience food stores, food-marts, and other entities engaged in the retail sales of a limited line of goods that sell milk, bread, soda, and snack foods, in addition to stores with a Type 20 or 21 license issued by the
  • Department of Alcoholic Beverage Controlled stores are also included in the ban (e.g. 7-Eleven, AM PM Mini Markets, and others).

 

Let S. Walter assist you in making sure your packaging choices meet the growing number of bag regulations around the country.   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

Single–Use Bag Legislation…The Year in Review

It was seven years ago that the first bag legislation was introduced. We’ve seen a lot of change over seven years. 2012 was a busy year for local bag ordinances; both in California and around the world.

Here are some stats for California:

  • 20 new bag ordinances adopted in 2012, covering 41 cities and counties
  • That’s double the number of bag ordinances adopted in 2011
  • Stores in at least 56 cities and counties will be affected by bag legislation by Earth Day, 2013

The new year will see many ordinances approved during 2012 require compliance in January 2013. These cities/counties include:

  • Alameda County, CA
  • Laguna Beach, CA
  • Pasadena, CA (2nd part of their phase-in program)
  • The Big Island of Hawaii
  • Village of Mamaroneck, NY
  • Barrington, RI
  • Corvallis, OR
  • Laguna Vista, TX
  • Mukilteo, WA

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.