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.

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.

More Bag Regulations in the State of California

Bag regulations are in full foliage this fall.  And the state of California is still leading the way.  Beginning Oct. 1, restaurants in San Francisco are restricted from handing out single-use plastic bags for take-out and delivery.  They are required to switch to compostable plastic, paper or reusable bags.  The San Francisco ordinance was expanded to include all retail establishments last year.

All around the State of California, communities are working to develop ordinances restricting the use and distribution of single-use plastic bags. This summer Monterey County’s supervisors directed their staff to begin preparing an ordinance restricting the distribution of single-use plastic bags. The county is also preparing a broad environmental impact report—the City of Monterey has already adopted an ordinance that bans plastic bags and allows a charge for paper.

This fall, other cities began taking action. San Diego has started to work on an ordinance. Salinas’ City Council voted to move forward with a bag ordinance. The Davis City Council unanimously approved a motion to develop a single-use bag ordinance that would apply to all businesses in the city.

Arcata, El Cerrito and Mill Valley are scheduled to finalize bag ordinances in the coming weeks. By early next year, it is estimated that, one in three Californians will live in a community that has restricted plastic bags.  There are currently 59 ordinances adopted in the State of California. These ordinances cover over 80 California Cities and Counties.

There is a lot of legislation being considered in several states for 2013. Make sure to keep checking our website www.baglaws.com 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

Lawsuit Challenges San Fran Plastic Bag Ordinance

In February, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors voted to expand a bag ordinance passed in 2007 that would ban supermarkets and chain store pharmacies from providing single-use, non-compostable plastic bags to their customers. That ordinance is now being challenged in court on the grounds that the city failed to follow the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act and did not complete an environmental impact report prior to passing the ordinance.The changes approved last month now extend the ban to all retailers starting this October and all restaurants in 2013. Additionally, the ordinance includes a 10-cent fee for each paper bag used that would be kept by individual business to be used as they please, with the ultimate goal being to lower the cost of compost-friendly plastic bags by increasing demand while encouraging consumers to bring their own reusable shopping bags.The ordinance, originally passed to reduce the number of plastic bags used annually in San Francisco (a number estimated at 350 million bags in 2011), is being challenged in court after the Save The Plastic Bag Coalition filed a lawsuit arguing that the city must complete a environmental impact report (EIR) as well as follow the requirements set in place by the California Environmental Quality Act.The lawsuit states that, “Paper and compostable bags are significantly worse for the environment than plastic bags,” and claims that the anti-plastic bag campaign is “largely based on myths misinformation and exaggerations.”

The coalition argues the EIR is necessary after a similar report in Los Angeles County found that charging a nominal fee for issuing paper bags would likely fail to offset environment impacts associated with their increased use, as well as because it says the city was not exempt from the CEQA requirements.

According to the lawsuit, “Very few people will carry a reusable bag to Macy’s or other department stores to save a dime,” and, “Very few people will carry a large reusable bag to purchase…a snack from Union Square or Chinatown.”

If you have any questions about this ban or any other bag legislation around the country, feel free to call us at 1-888-429-5673. Our bag specialists are qualified to explain how this ban affects you, and help you find bags that are in compliance with your local legislation.

Sources: CBS San Francisco.

For full story, visit http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2012/03/02/lawsuit-to-challenge-san-francisco-plastic-bag-ban/