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

Here come the Holidays, is your packaging ready?

Here come the Holidays – with the additional seasonal shoppers – is your packaging ready?

Businesses want to make sure their customers leave with as much merchandise and products as they need or want. Packaging is an important element of retail sales. After all, your customers need to have something to place all of their newly acquired items. Bags are a popular choice for all kinds of retail businesses including grocery stores, clothing shops, and food industry businesses.

Bags are made to be relatively durable to ensure the items stay secure until the customer reaches their destination. Suppliers offer a wide variety of sizes, styles, materials and designs to meet your needs. You can choose from different types of handles to ensure durability and comfort for your customers. You can customize your bags in a specific color and with your company’s logo to advertise and enhance your image. However, today retailers need assistance in navigating the bag legislation that in continuing to pop up all over the United States.

Let S. Walter Packaging assists you in making sure your packaging choices meet all regulations. 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 Legislation – Fall 2013

States are continuing to consider strategies to reduce the number of plastic carry-out bags from grocery stores and other retail outlets. Some states are targeting paper bags as well.

On October 1st, California State Supreme Court denied a petition for review by attorney Stephen Joseph. Joseph, who represents the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition, was attempting to overturn the ruling from the Court of Appeals regarding Marin County’s single-use plastic bag ordinance. In February of 2011, Joseph sued Marin County on the basis that it failed to comply with CEQA requirements by not preparing a full Environmental Impact Report at the time it adopted its ordinance. On September 27, 2011, California Superior Court Judge Duryee disagreed and upheld the ordinance. The coalition appealed the decision. In June of 2013, Justice William R. McGuiness affirmed the original ruling in the Court of Appeal, which upheld Marin’s ordinance. Joseph then filed the petition to review the decision in the state Supreme Court. In a final decision, the Supreme Court denied the request and added under case status: ‘case closed.’

Several plastic bag ordinances adopted by California communities earlier this year have recently taken effect.

  • Redwood City, which adopted the San Mateo model ordinance (banning on single-use plastic bags and allowing small charge for paper bags).
  • Cupertino passed a single-use bag ordinance in March. This ordinance bans distribution of single-use plastic bags at all retailers and allows a small charge for paper.
  • Dana Point adopted a single-use plastic bag ordinance in March, as well. The ordinance has already take effect for larger stores, but now will apply to all stores.
  • The final phase of San Francisco’s landmark, first in the nation plastic bag ordinance, is now in effect. It restricts the distribution of single-use plastic bags at all restaurants and requires the use of compostable plastic, paper or reusable bags.
  • East Palo Alto adopted a single-use plastic bag ordinance back in April is also effective

Currently, 6 states – California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington – are considering banning single-use plastic bags, with California’s proposed ban including paper and other single-use bags as well. Washington is considering legislation that would create rules for localities that choose to impose a ban or fee on plastic bags. Legislation in Arkansas and Florida to ban bags failed in 2013.

Eight states – Hawaii, Louisiana, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington – are considering a fee or tax on the distribution of bags which a shopper will have to pay, either directly or indirectly. Florida and Maryland proposed fee legislation, but the bills failed.

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

Bag Legislation – Mid-Summer 2013

As summer is in full swing across the county, so are efforts of communities on how to handle the single-use plastic shopping bags.

Across California bag bans and taxes continue to pile up following another failed attempt at a state-wide ban in the California state legislature, with Los Angeles drawing the biggest headlines. The second largest U.S. city, with a population of 3.9 million, will bar single-use thin film bags as of January 1, 2014 and charge shoppers 10 cents for paper bags. The ban will kick off applying only to large grocery stores but will include smaller retailers as well, starting in June 2014.

Unincorporated Los Angeles County and a long list of municipalities within the county already had a bag bans of their own.

A bag ban for Sonoma County, California, is still in the works after a 4-1 vote in favor of a ban on plastic bags and a 10-cent fee for paper in June. The measure still needs unanimous support from all 10 members of the county’s waste management agency board, which is expected to vote in August.

Not to be outdone by the West Coast, New York City Councilman Brad Lander has revived attempts to ban plastic bags in the largest U.S. city. So far, however, there has been no action from the New York City Council since Lander’s measure was introduced in June.

But upstate, in Tompkins County, N.Y. a July 1 draft ordinance banning plastics bags from all retailers is under consideration. The proposed law would go into effect January 1, 2014 for any retailer over 5,000 square feet and January 1, 2015 for all other retailers.

Debate also continues to rage in Baltimore, Md., Councilman Brandon Scott introduced a bill June 10 that would require all stores city-wide to charge shoppers 10 cents per bag, down from his originally intended 25 cents, with stores keeping 2 cents per bag and the rest going to the city’s parks and recreation coffers. Even with support from Councilman James Kraft and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Baltimore’s bag ban effort is apparently being stymied. A hearing on the bill scheduled for July 2 was cancelled without explanation. The Maryland Retailers Association, Maryland Food Dealers Council, and Baltimore City Food Policy Advisory Committee have all come out against the bill.

Nearby, in Montgomery County, Md., officials are considering making changes to its bag fees, which went into effect January 1, 2012. A new proposal would limit the bag tax to only retailers who gross more than 2 percent of their sales from food and exempt bags for take-out food.

City of Los Angeles

The City of Los Angeles became the largest city in the country and 77th jurisdiction in the State of California to approve an ordinance to phase out the use of plastic grocery bags.

If the measure is signed, as expected, by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the phase out of single use plastic grocery bags at large grocery stores will begin January 1, 2014, and extend to smaller ‘convenience and liquor stores’ by July 1, 2014.

The adoption of the ordinance comes just two weeks after the California State Senate fell 3 votes short of passing a statewide phase-out of single use plastic bags.

Another dozen jurisdictions are expected to adopt ordinances phasing out single-use plastic later this year, including the Cities of Sacramento and Chico, and the Counties of Santa Barbara, Ventura, Sonoma, and Monterey.

Bag Legislation Activity as of Mid-2013

States are continuing to consider strategies to reduce the number of plastic carry-out bags from grocery stores and other retail outlets. Some states are targeting paper bags as well.

Thus far in 2013, eight states—Arkansas, California, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington—are considering banning single-use plastic bags. In Florida the ban would not prohibit customers from bringing their own bags of any sort. Florida and Washington have proposed legislation that would create rules for localities that choose to impose a ban or fee on plastic bags. California’s proposed ban including paper and other single-use bags under SB405 was taken to the Senate floor and voted on May 30. The vote was 18-17; however, the bill did not make it off the Senate floor because they needed 21 votes. This is the second time California has tried to pass a state wide ban and has failed. However, the state of California does have more than 75 communities covered under ordinances that determine the bag you use. You can use www.baglaws.com to see which regulations pertain to your store locations.

Eight states—Florida, Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington—have proposed a fee or tax on the distribution of bags which a shopper will have to pay, either directly or indirectly. A few of Maryland’s proposed bills would require a 5 cent credit for each bag a customer provides themselves, while Rhode Island would require a ten cent fee even for a recyclable paper bag. Hawaii would impose fees ranging from 5 cents to 25 cents if the state finds that distribution of single-use bags has not decreased 75 percent by a specified date. Depending on the state, the revenue would go to state parks, school districts, community improvement trusts or other public programs.

Recycling Programs and Requirements

States have continued to propose and enact legislation relating to labeling, recycling, and reusing plastic bags. In 2010, Delaware enacted an At-Store Recycling Program. The legislation encourages the use of reusable bags, requires stores to establish an at-store recycling program that provides an opportunity for customers of the store to return clean plastic bags, requires that plastic carry-out bags display a recycling message and provides fines and penalties for noncompliance. Illinois passed similar legislation, The Plastic Bag and Film Recycling Act, in 2012.

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.

Bag Legislation Activity Increasing for 2013

States are continuing to consider strategies to reduce the number of plastic carry-out bags from grocery stores and other retail outlets. Some states are targeting paper bags as well.

No state has yet to enact a statewide ban, fee or tax. However, Hawaii does have a de-facto statewide ban, as all four counties in the state now ban non-biodegradable plastic bags at checkout as well as paper bags that are not at least 40 percent recycled. Kauai and Maui counties already enforce bans, while Hawaii County’s ban took effect on Jan. 17, 2013. Honolulu County made the ban statewide when it passed legislation in May 2012. Retailers in Honolulu County have until July 1, 2015, to make the change.

In California, CA AB 298—passed the Senate Committee on Appropriations on July 2, 2012. The latest draft of the bill would prohibit stores of a certain size from providing single-use carryout bags to customers. Stores would also be required to provide collection bins where customers could bring their single use bags to be recycled. An example of that type of bin can be found here: www.swalter.com/rekit.html. This bill would also allow a city, county or the state to impose penalties for those in violation of the law. About 50 local jurisdictions in California have imposed local ordinances that ban the use of plastic bags, helping the momentum behind CA AB 298.

In 2009, North Carolina banned plastic bags for the Outer Banks region, a chain of barrier islands off its coast. However, in 2011, the state passed legislation to temporarily suspend that ban due to a tornado that hit Dunn, North Carolina, which is the major distribution center for paper bags in the area. The ban was restored and is being enforced.

There is a lot of legislation being considered in several states for 2013. 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 does a new year hold for Single–Use Bag Legislation?

The anticipation is that 2013 will see renewed interest for Single-Use Bag legislation around the US. Last year only 14 states considered a total of 56 bills for some type of single use bag legislation. This was slightly down compared to previous years. Since 2008, anywhere from 19 to 21 states each year have legislation pending on the issue. The reduction in 2012 may be part explained by the fact that fewer states held legislative sessions, focusing more on budget issues.

However, that did not slow down the trend of local jurisdictions presenting, approving and implementing single-use bag legislation. As we mentioned at the end of last year, California has been most aggressive. However, the third largest city, Los Angeles has not put forward an ordinance for a vote. The City’s Bureau of Sanitation is still compiling an Environment Impact Report (EIR) and will not report back until later in 2013. Local governments outside of California continue to be active.

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.