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 However, even if they pass an ordinance now, it would only be temporary and be superseded by SB 270 if that becomes effective in the possible November 2016 vote.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

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

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

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.

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.

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.