Wonky Wednesday: Even the plastics industry can’t stop the inevitable

More communities are saying no to plastic bags.

The job of battling plastic bag bans is becoming a bit overwhelming for the plastics industry.  Despite extensive lobbying and deep pockets, the industry has been unable to prevent 51 cities and 12 counties throughout the US from banning plastics bags – not a great track record for the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the lobbying arm of the plastics industry.  Not surprisingly, they’ve had to call in backup: the Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc. (SPI) has now taken over the responsibility of fighting bans.

A new player in the game will likely present new challenges, but we’re not sweating.  The industry is clearly reeling from the rapid-fire spread of bag bans, noting the two most recent bans in Alameda County and Millbrae.  Alameda County’s waste management agency, Stopwaste.org, passed an ordinance that will apply to all cities in the county, making it the first countywide bag ordinance in the Bay Area.  Millbrae’s is the first bag ban in San Mateo County, setting the stage for other cities on the Peninsula to do the same.

Hilex Poly, a plastic bag manufacturer, notes that industry has had little success in preventing “environmentally conscious communities” from passing bag bans.  Well, there’s a good reason for that – banning plastic bags is smart environmental policy and no level of industry lawsuits or lobbying will change that.