Fri October 2, 2015

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October 2, 2015

Proposed Wildlife Conservation Board Trust Fund Ensures Retail Bag Fees Help the Environment

SACRAMENTO, Calif.—Today the American Progressive Bag Alliance (APBA) and its supporters filed a ballot initiative with the California Attorney General’s office requiring all money generated or collected under a state law that mandates consumer charges for carryout bags be directed to an environmental fund, rather than to grocers. It also provides local governments the option to direct local bag fees to the environmental fund.

The proposed “Environmental Fee Protection Act” is intended to redirect bag fees, currently retained by grocers as profit, to the California Wildlife Conservation Board, which will use the funds to provide environmental grants. SB 270 is a state law which bans plastic retail bags and requires grocers to charge – and keep – a minimum 10 cents for each paper and thicker plastic bag provided to customers. SB 270 was signed into law in 2014 but is on hold via referendum until voters have the opportunity to weigh in at the ballot in November 2016.

“The APBA opposes bag bans, taxes and fees because they threaten 30,000 American jobs supported by the plastic bag manufacturing and recycling industry, and all evidence shows they create negligible environmental benefit,” said Lee Califf, Executive Director of the APBA. “And while we are confident California voters will reject the statewide bag ban scam at the ballot in 2016, we know that 84 percent of people believe that bag fees in general should go to a public purpose, instead of increasing profit margins for grocers. So we want to make sure voters have the power to actually put bag fees to work for the environment and their communities, should SB 270 become law.”

The purpose of the Environmental Fee Protection Act is to fulfill Californians’ expectations by requiring that any carryout bag fees charged to consumers in connection with, or to advance, any recyclable plastic bag ban are dedicated to appropriate and worthy environmental objectives like drought mitigation projects, including but not limited to drought-stressed forest remediation and projects that expand or restore wetlands, fish habitat or waterfowl habitat, as well as providing funds for recycling, clean drinking water supplies, parks, beach cleanup, litter removal, and wildlife habitat restoration. 

Upon filing the initiative, the California Attorney General’s office has 65 days to issue the official title and summary, at which point APBA will begin gathering the required number of signatures to qualify the Environmental Fee Protection Act for the November 2016 ballot.

“SB 270 has always been a massive, billion dollar giveaway to grocers under the guise of environmentalism, but even its stated intent to rid California of plastic bags is contradicted by a giant loophole that actually allows grocers to distribute thicker plastic bags to customers – for a 10 cent fee, of course,” said Califf. “Our industry is proud to give California voters a chance to overturn a deeply flawed, job-killing law or, at the very least, ensure bag fees are dedicated to helping the environment instead of increasing grocer profit margins.”

About the American Progressive Bag Alliance (APBA)
The American Progressive Bag Alliance was founded in 2005 to represent the United States’ plastic bag manufacturing and recycling sector, employing 30,800 employees in 349 communities across the nation. APBA promotes the responsible use, reuse, recycling and disposal of plastic bags and advocates for American-made plastic products as the best environmental choice at check out—for both retailers and consumers.

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Founded in 1937, SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association promotes growth in the $427 billion U.S. plastics industry. Representing nearly one million American workers in the third largest U.S. manufacturing industry, SPI delivers legislative and regulatory advocacy, market research, industry promotion and the fostering of business relationships and zero waste strategies. SPI also owns and produces the international NPE trade show. All profits from NPE are reinvested into SPI’s industry services. Find SPI online at www.plasticsindustry.org and www.inthehopper.org.

"From resin suppliers and equipment makers to processors and brand owners, SPI is proud to represent all facets of the U.S. plastics industry," said William R. Carteaux, president and CEO, SPI. "Our most recent economic reports show that the plastics industry as a whole is resilient, and has come through the recession significantly better than other U.S. manufacturing sectors."