CMTA asks for veto on bag ban

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Sept. 11, 2014

On the last day of session, the Senate passed SB 270 and sent it to the Governor. SB 270 (Alex Padilla, D-Pacoima) would ban single-use plastic bags at grocery checkout and impose a 10 cent minimum tax on postconsumer recycled content paper bags.

This bill would not only cost California 2,000 jobs in the plastic bag industry, but will jeopardize hundreds of jobs in the paper and converting industries as well. The two million dollars that is promised to changeover current plastic bag lines is only enough to convert one half of one production line at one facility.

SB 270 will steer people away from using paper bags and toward heavier reusable bags.  Paper bags not only contain recycled content, but are reusable, compostable, recyclable and come from a sustainable resource. The large, heavy plastic, reusable bags are resource intensive and are without an infrastructure for recycling. These bags will end up in the landfill and are far less green than the paper bags they will replace. Well over 60 percent of the fabric and hemp reusable bags are made in Asia. California jobs will be, once again, traded for jobs overseas.

If this bill is signed, it will be giving preference to well-to-do, urban, coastal communities over poorer, rural, inland communities. The 100-plus communities that have approved such a bag ban are predominately on or near the coast. This is a regressive tax and amounts to price-fixing on a product with the highest recovery rate in the solid waste stream by far.

The politics of this bill are interesting: The United Food and Commercial Workers Union removed their support over concerns about the lack of enforcement in the bill and would not remove their opposition until the 10 cent tax on paper was eliminated. They later withdrew their opposition after coming to an agreement with Safeway on how they could share in the wealth this measure creates.

CMTA is urging Governor Brown to leave the decision to ban plastic bags and tax paper bags up to the local jurisdictions and veto SB 270. You can help us by clicking this link to send Gov. Brown your veto request letter.

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