Thu May 19, 2016

Andrea Chavez 
Tel: 916-288-2204

May 19, 2016

Statewide Ballot Measure Will Redirect Bag Fees from Grocers to Environmental Fund

SACRAMENTO--The American Progressive Bag Alliance (APBA) announced today it will submit approximately 600,000 signatures to California county registrars’ offices by May 20 to qualify an initiative for the November 2016 ballot. The initiative, titled the “Environmental Fee Protection Act,” would direct all money generated or collected under a state law that mandates consumer charges for carryout bags to an environmental fund, rather than to grocers’ profits. It also provides local governments the option to direct local bag fees to the environmental fund. Senate Bill 270 was passed in 2014 to ban plastic retail bags and mandate grocers charge – and keep – 10 cents for each paper and thicker plastic bags provided to their customers.

“SB 270 passed the Legislature despite being a flawed, job-killing bill designed to funnel hundreds of millions of dollars in bag fees to grocers without any money going to benefit the environment,” said Lee Califf, Executive Director of the APBA. “The APBA stayed implementation of this terrible law by qualifying a referendum for the 2016 ballot so California voters have the opportunity to repeal it – and we have confidence they will. However, should voters approve SB 270, the Environmental Fee Protection Act initiative provides them a choice to decide where the bag fees mandated under the law go – either to increase grocers’ profits or to help fund worthy environmental causes.”

According to recent survey data, 84 percent of California voters – across the political spectrum – are united in the opinion that any bag fees imposed by state or local government should go to a public purpose, instead of increasing grocer profit margins.

“By qualifying the Environmental Fee Protection Act initiative, the APBA is drawing a clear line of separation for voters between the issue of whether or not to ban plastic bags and the issue of where bag fees are directed,” said Phil Rozenski, Policy Chair of the APBA. “Regardless of how voters feel about banning plastic bags, a YES vote on this initiative will ensure that any state-mandated sales charges on carryout bags will fund environmental efforts, rather than being retained by grocers. And we know this is an easy choice for California voters.”

By submitting approximately 600,000 signatures with a validation rate 75%, the APBA is confident it will qualify the Environmental Fee Protection Act initiative through a random sample check before the June 30 deadline. The APBA supports both the SB 270 referendum and Environmental Fee Protection Act initiative and is committed to making sure California voters are well-informed of the impact of these ballot measure before voting in November.

Environmental Fee Protection Act Summary and Title

The Attorney General of California has prepared the following title and summary of the chief purpose and points of the proposed measure:

CARRY-OUT BAGS. CHARGES. INITIATIVE STATUTE. Redirects money collected by grocery and certain other retail stores through sale of carry-out bags, whenever any state law bans free distribution of a particular kind of carry-out bag and mandates the sale of any other kind of carry-out bag. Requires stores to deposit bag sale proceeds into a special fund administered by the Wildlife Conservation Board to support specified categories of environmental projects. Provides for Board to develop regulations implementing law. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government:  If voters uphold the state’s current carryout bag law, redirected revenues from retailers to the state, potentially in the several tens of millions of dollars annually.

Revenues would be used for grants for certain environmental and natural resources purposes. If voters reject the state’s current carryout bag law, likely minor fiscal effects. (15-0074.) 

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."