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.

No more single-use plastic grocery bags in California by 2016 if SB270 passes!

Senator Alex Padilla (Pacoima), Senator Kevin de León (Los Angeles) and Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Huntington Park/Long Beach) were joined by environmental groups and business leaders to announce a new, coauthored bill to phase out single-use plastic grocery bags statewide.

SB 270 (Padilla and de León) 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.

Previous efforts to enact a statewide policy on single-use plastic grocery bags (also referred to in the industry as plastic “T-shirt” bags) were stalled due to concerns over the impact of the phase out on jobs at the state’s two remaining plastic grocery bag manufacturers. This measure addresses the jobs issue by establishing financial incentives and green manufacturing standards to promote the use and in-state manufacturing of a new generation of reusable bags with the smallest environmental footprint.

SB 270 is pending in the Assembly Labor Committee and expected to move forward to the House for review.

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

Massachusetts Moves To Ban Plastic Bag

A Massachusetts Legislature committee voted to move forward with a bill to ban the distribution of single-use plastic bags. The state-wide proposition is likely to reach a final vote by MA lawmakers within the next few weeks.

The Massachusetts Plastic Bag Reduction Act had many stores already reducing or eliminating plastic bags. The bill prohibited stores exceeding 4,000 square feet from distributing plastic bags, except for those made with compostable plastic. Additionally, paper bags would have to be made of recycled material. Almost twenty years ago, the town of Nantucket was among the first to entirely ban the plastic bag.

Sponsors for the bill argue the environmental consequences for both marine life and preserving landscapes. There exists concern in the clogging of landfills and sewage systems as well.  Massachusetts uses approximately one and a half billion plastic bags annually, only one percent of which are actually recycled. The cost of recycling a ton of plastic bags is around $4,000.

If the bill passes, Massachusetts would become the second state, behind Hawaii, to constitute a state-wide ban of plastic bags.