UPDATE: New York State S4158/A4883- how it affects existing regulations in the State.

Per our last blog posted on February 6th regarding potential NY state legislature that would eliminate New York City’s BYO Bag Law, it has been confirmed that the New York State Senate (S4158) and Assembly (A4883) voted two weeks ago to put a moratorium on bag fees for cities over 1 million in population until January 2018. This moratorium on bag fees was signed by the Governor on February 14th.

This bill will only impact New York City’s law and will not affect other municipalities in New York State that have passed similar bag fee laws. This bill stopped NYC’s bill from going into effect on February 15th. At the end of one year, NYC will have to pass its bill again.

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.

State Preemption Bill may eliminate New York City’s BYO Bag Law

Last May, the New York City Council adopted the BYO Bag law, which requires that all retailers in NYC charge a 5-cent minimum fee for each carryout bag provided at check-out. Later that month, the State of New York introduced preemption legislation, resulting in a compromise whereby implementation of the law was delayed from October 1, 2016 until February 15, 2017.

To start the new year, companion preemption bills were reintroduced in Albany: Senate Bill 362 and Assembly Bill 1750. On Jan 17, 2017, the New York state Senate passed Senate Bill 362 by a vote of 42-18. The bill will now head to the State Assembly, where parallel legislation is being considered.

Be sure to check our website regularly 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. We can help you navigate bag legislation in the municipalities you sell into and select the best packaging for your stores. If you have any questions, you can contact us by phone at (888) 429-5673 or via email at baglaws@swalter.com.

Bag Regulations bringing in the New Year 2017

CHICAGO:  The Chicago bag tax, originally approved to begin Jan. 1, 2017 has been delayed to FEBRUARY 1, 2017 to allow retailers time to implement. There will be a checkout tax of 7 cents per bag added at all Chicago retailers – 5 cents of which will go to the city, and retailers retain 2-cents.

MICHIGAN:  On December 27, 2016, Senate Bill 853 to ban local governments from banning plastic bags and other disposable containers is now Michigan law. It was signed by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley on Wednesday, December 28, 2016. The law bans municipalities from regulating, prohibiting or adding fees to the use or sale of “auxiliary containers” – reusable or single-use bags, cups, bottles or other packaging from stores and restaurants. Washtenaw County in Michigan had recently voted to approve a 10-cent fee on disposable grocery bags and was expected to begin enforcing it in April of 2017, but the SB853 law pre-empts local ordinances. Sen. Jim Stamas introduced the bill, feeling that the law would “create consistency, especially for businesses that operate branches across the state and would have to abide by multiple regulations.” Other state lawmakers feel the bill “attacks local control,” and that local bag laws would help to clear up litter. Michigan joins Wisconsin, Arizonian, Idaho and Indiana that have similar laws.

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.

New updates in California!

It is official, the State of California is the first state to have a law passed the covers the entire state for bag regulations. On November 8, 2016, voters approved Proposition 67 for a statewide ban of single-use bags.

The ban takes place immediately. Senate Bill 270 is now in effect. Grocery stores, retail stores with pharmacies, convenient stores, food marts and liquor stores will no longer be allowed to provide single-use carry out bags to their customers. Stores will charge $0.10 per paper bag or reusable bag distributed at these establishments.

The statewide law allows municipalities to continue to operate under their own ordinances if they were adopted prior to January 1, 2015. Communities that adopted after this date must now comply with SB270.

The following cities and counties are required to void their existing ordinances and adopt the statewide bill:

  • American Canyon
  • Cathedral City
  • Corte Madera
  • Del Mar
  • Hermosa Beach
  • Mammoth Lakes*
  • Milpitas
  • Napa County
  • Sacramento City
  • Sacramento County
  • San Diego*
  • Santa Barbara County
  • Yountville

 

*Mammoth Lakes and San Diego have sunset clauses upon the passage of SB 270 (Proposition 67).

For more details, please see our website: https://baglaws.com/legislation.php?state=California#StatewideLegislation

or the Frequently Asked Questions provided by the State of California: http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/Plastics/CarryOutBags/FAQ.htm#Ordinances

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.

New updates in Chicago!

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, as part of his 2017 budget, introduced on Oct. 11 a proposal to add a 7-cent tax on plastic and paper bags used in the city. This is an extension of an ordinance that went into effect in 2015 that put restrictions on the use of plastic bags.  The new tax is due to ongoing negotiations between city retailer and environmental groups.

Under the first phase of this ordinance, which went into effect Aug. 1, 2015, chain stores and franchises over 10,000 square feet are banned from using standard thin plastic bags to carry groceries in, and are required to provide reusable bags instead. These requirements expanded to all chains and franchises within the city under the second phase of the ordinance, which went into effect Aug. 1, 2016. Any store that violates the ordinance could face a fine of $100-500.

The 7-cent fee will be split between the city- which will retain 5-cents and the retailers, which will retain 2-cents. It is expected to generate more that $10 million dollars in revenue for the city.

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 Ban in Puerto Rico Going Into Effect

Although baglaws.com typically only follows bag legislation in the 50 United States, we wanted to share information regarding a law (Act 247-2015) going into effect in December 2016 in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, where many of our customers are located or have locations.

Act 247-2015 was signed into law Dec. 24, 2015, three months after Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla issued an executive order that would ban businesses from dispensing plastic bags to customers starting in July, defying legislators who had rejected a similar bill. The new law, authored by Popular Democratic Party Reps. Manuel Natal and José Báez, gave businesses a year before the ban on plastic bags goes into effect to allow for an educational campaign on the issue.

Act 247-2015 promotes the use of reusable bags and prohibits retail stores and other commercial establishments, as of December 24, 2016, from providing plastic bags to customers. Under the Act, customers are allowed to bring their own plastic bags to the establishments to carry and transport their articles and products. The ban does not apply to (1) product bags or packages, such as handle-less plastic bags/packages used to transport farm products, meat and other articles that would prevent such products from damaging or contaminating other products, and (2) Security Tamper-Evident Bags.

Commercial establishments are allowed to provide paper bags and recover their costs from customers, at their discretion. The Act also requires reusable bags sold to customers to meet the following requirements:

  1. Must be made of material or fabric that does not damage the environment
  2. Must be able to be machine washed, or made of a materials that can be washed and disinfected
  3. Must have a capacity to carry at least 22 pounds a distance of 75 feet for at least 125 times
  4. If made of plastic, must be made out of polypropylene or polyethylene (non-woven) or any other synthetic fiber that is totally recyclable
  5. If it is a reusable fabric, it must have a minimum weight of 80 grams per square meter (gsm).

 

You can check out the entire Act here.

Be sure to check 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.

Where does SB 270 in California stand?

At the end of December 2014, the industry against plastic bag bans submitted over 800,000 signatures seeking to repeal SB 270 through a referendum. Counties in California are now undertaking the verification process, which is expected to be completed by the end of February.

In the meantime, on January 27, 2015, Supporters of the state’s plastic bag ban (SB 270) refiled their complaint with California Attorney General Kamala Harris over deceptive signature gathering by petition gatherers seeking a repeal of the law. This comes after the Secretary of State’s office said it would not review the complaint because Secretary of State Alex Padilla had a conflict as author of the legislation, SB 270 that is the subject of the referendum.

California vs. Big Plastic, the campaign committee supporting the bag ban, originally filed a complaint with California Secretary of State Debra Bowen in December requesting an investigation of the signature gathering by the law’s opponents, citing numerous examples of deceptive signature gathering.

If the veto referendum campaign fails to get the bill placed on the November 2016 ballot, SB 270 will go into effect for big businesses on July 1, 2015 and for small businesses on July 1, 2016.

The veto referendum, if citizens collect enough signatures to force the matter onto the state’s ballot, the targeted law does not then go into effect when it otherwise would have done so. Rather, the law is held in abeyance pending the outcome of the statewide vote. Now counties and cities that do not currently have a bag ordinance in place are reviewing whether or not to implement one in case SB 270 does go to vote in 2016. However, even if they pass an ordinance now, it would only be temporary and be superseded by SB 270 if that becomes effective in the possible November 2016 vote.

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 Confusion!

Entering into the New Year there are almost 200 regulations in place across the United States that define what type of “bag” can be used in what type of “store” location. Over 100 of these regulations are in the state of California alone.

The confusion for retailers, packaging providers, packaging manufacturers and the general public is that each regulation is different. Merriam-Webster defines a “bag” as a container made of a material (such as paper, plastic, or cloth) that opens at the top and is used for holding or carrying things. Webster defines a “store” as a building or room where things are sold. Sounds simple, right? However, while looking at all these regulations one would find definitions of:

  • checkout bags,
  • paper vs plastic,
  • produce and product bags,
  • single use carry-out,
  • reusable bag,
  • recyclable,
  • store, retailer, food and eating establishments

and the list goes on.

How do you know when, where and what kind of bags can be used?

The best advice…make sure you check the regulation(s) in your area to understand what the requirements are. Bags that may be exempted in a city or county are usually called out in one of three places in an ordinance:

  1. Definition section – usually where they define a single use carry bag or checkout bag.
  2. Requirement section – the section immediately following the definitions that tells what is prohibited and where. This section sometimes calls out exemptions.
  3. Exemption Section – usually following the requirement section.

 

In many of the regulations there are exceptions for plastic bags used for nonprofit charities, news paper bags, dry cleaning bags and produce or product bags. It is also good to know how a store is defined. Some regulations only target grocery stores while others include retailers and food establishments.

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

What will become of the CA SB 270 single-use plastic bag ban?

On September 30, 2014 – the state of California made history by being the first state in the US to pass a state wide ban on single-use bags. Under SB 270, plastic bags will be phased out of checkout counters at large grocery stores and supermarkets starting in the summer of 2015, and convenience stores and pharmacies in 2016.

However, the fate of the law is still undecided. The plastic industry is seeking a voter referendum to appeal the law. This requires the plastic industry to gather a little under a half a million signatures within 90 days from the signing of the bill to law. If the plastic industry succeeds in gathering enough qualified signatures, they will delay the July 2015 implementation of SB 270 until it can be decided by the voters during the November 2016 elections.

Three other states have been looking at legislation to ban plastic bags statewide. The States are Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island. In the 188th legislative session, Massachusetts tried and failed to pass their statewide ban. All eyes are on California as these other states watch to see the outcome.

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

SB 270: Bag Battle Heats Up

In the less than two weeks, the California State Assembly will take up legislation SB 270 (Padilla, de Leon and Lara) to ban single-use plastic grocery bags statewide. The legislation recently passed out of the Assembly Fiscal Committee and now heads to the Assembly Floor for a full vote. The deadline to pass both houses is August 3, 2014. To date, 116 cities and counties with a third of California’s population have adopted a local bag ordinance. The rest of California still does not have ordinances and will be affected by the outcome of SB 270. Many of these cities are trying to get an ordinance adopted before September 1st of this year. Just in case the proposed statewide bill, SB 270, is passed, the cities will have their own regulations and will not be subject to the law.

Summary of SB 270
Phases out single-use plastic grocery bags. Reusable, paper, and (in certain jurisdictions) compostable plastic bags can only be distributed with a minimum 10 cent charge. Includes standards and incentives for plastic bag manufacturers to transition to making reusable bags.

Description of SB 270
This bill seeks to reduce plastic bag litter costs by prohibiting single-use plastic grocery bags in supermarkets and drugstores starting July 1, 2015. By July 1, 2016, smaller grocery stores and convenience stores must also comply with the requirements. Other bags (paper, reusable, and in some jurisdictions, compostable) are allowed only with a ten cent minimum charge. Local ordinances adopted before September 1, 2014, which currently cover a third of the state’s population, would be protected under a grandfathering clause.

Make sure to keep checking our website for updates on single use bag legislation, like SB 270, 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