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.

Chicago 2017 Budget passes- adding a new “Check out Bag Tax”

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, as part of his 2017 budget introduced on Oct. 11, proposed adding a 7-cent tax on plastic and paper bags used in the city. In a recent Chicago Daily Herald article, Molly Poppe, Office of Budget and Management, was quoted saying: “Ultimately, the goal of the (bag) tax is to change behavior and change how people utilize disposable bags.” The checkout tax replaces Chicago’s 1-year-old plastic bag ordinance, which carried fines for stores that did not provide reusable, recyclable or compostable plastic bags. That ordinance, which had yet to fully roll out, proved less effective than hoped, per Poppe.

On November 16, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s budget was approved by the city council. Beginning Jan. 1, 2017 a checkout tax of 7 cents per bag will be added at all Chicago retailers – 5 cents of which will go to the city and retailers retain 2 cents. It is expected to generate more that $10 million dollars in revenue for the city. The tax does not apply to restaurants and families in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, often called food stamps

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.

New York, New York….and the flight of the plastic bag ban!

The State of New York is considering bag legislation. Assembly member Felix Ortiz (D) introduced AB 8479. This would impose a 15 cent tax on plastic shopping bags. Currently AB 8479 is in the Assembly Committee on Ways and Means.

New York City has long been talking about the possibility of bag legislation. The cause has new life with New York City Councilman Brad Landers (D-Brooklyn) and Council woman Margaret Landers (D-Manhattan) now pushing to regulate carry out bags in New York City. Previous attempts by Landers failed to reach the 26 vote majority needed to pass the council. The new ordinance places a $0.05 cent tax on all carry out bags. The City would retain this money and not the retailers.

This is a compromise over Landers last proposal. It is too soon to say if the new proposal will garnish the 26 needed votes to pass. However, since the new proposal went from a fee to a tax, not only would it need council approval but also the State of New York.

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 Plastic Bag Regulations on a State Level

California would have been the first state to pass a state wide law regulating single-use bags. However, with that on hold and not going to a public vote until fall of 2016, many other states are still reviewing how to handle the issue. The State of Hawaii is technically covered by single- use bag regulations, but this is only because of the individual counties that have passed legislation. There is no actual State wide law regulating single – use bags in Hawaii.
This year we see states not deciding on the single use bag issue, but evaluating whether municipalities in their state should be able to decide that issue. Arizona, Pennsylvania and Missouri have all had bills that they have been evaluating. One state passed a law, another vetoed the law and a third is still evaluating the law.

  • In July, Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed a bill in Missouri that would limit local governments’ power to enact laws regulating plastic bag use. Nixon said House Bill 722, which would amend two chapters of Missouri statutes relating to prohibited ordinances by political subdivisions, is a “clear example” of unwarranted government intrusion and an abandonment of the principle of local control.
  • As of June, the State of Pennsylvania, has introduced House Bill 1280 that has introduced their own version of this type of law that would limit local municipalities from passing single use bag regulations. HB 1280 is currently pending.
  • In April this year, the State of Arizona successfully passed SB 1241 into law that municipality cannot implement laws that regulate or ban plastic bags.

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.

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