Mon, Jun

Why I’m Fighting Plastic Bag Bans

THE OTHER SIDE - When people ask me why I am fighting against plastic bag bans, the answer is simple--the information used to demonize plastic bags is wrong and our employees at Crown Poly deserve to know that we are willing to fight for their jobs and to get the facts heard in this debate.  

The nearly 2,000 employees that depend on the plastic bag manufacturing and recycling industry here in California know that our plastic bags are made from natural gas sourced right here in America.   Our products are 100 percent recyclable and reusable, are less than one percent of the litter stream, and are an environmentally superior product in multiple ways including lower greenhouse gas emission than paper, cotton, and plastic reusable bags. 

It’s an inconvenient truth for some to admit, but there are no scientific studies or verified data sources that back up most of the villainous claims made about plastic bags. 

In fact, plastic bags are a smart choice for the environment because they require less energy and water to produce and require fewer trucks to transport than paper bags. Reusable bags are often imported from China--arriving here in America with an already large carbon footprint and questionable safety risks.  

Life cycle analysis studies have shown that production and usage of a plastic bag has a lower carbon footprint than paper, woven or plastic reusable bags. David Tyler, a professor at the University of Oregon, has performed studies that have found that “if the most important environmental impact you wanted to alleviate was global warming, then you would go with plastic.”  

The sum takeaway, bag bans actually cause more damage by pushing consumers to options that are worse for the environment. 

Here in California, local studies on the impacts of plastic bag bans have found that they would have “no or less-than-significant impacts on the environment.” Why? Because plastic bags are insignificant drivers of litter in the United States (EPA data shows that plastic bags only make up 0.5% of the municipal waste stream.) 

It’s time to recognize that the information used by many in this debate are built on Internet-driven myths and theories that science does not support.  While the emotionally charged messages of cleaner beaches and oceans area are huge source of revenue for the activist groups in their crusade against plastic bags – the fact is – plastic bag bans won’t get us there.  Bans will threaten the jobs of many, including my employees here at Crown Poly, and others throughout the state. 

My plea is for everyone to follow the facts. Don’t risk good jobs for hard working people in the name of false environmental claims.  Get the facts and then decide.  That’s why Crown Poly and I fight – and that’s why Californian politicians should reconsider their support for AB 158 and SB 405.


(Cathy Browne is the general manager of Crown Poly, a plastic bag manufacturing firm based in Huntington Park, California. This commentary was posted first at EagleRock.patch.com





Vol 11 Issue 34

Pub: Apr 26, 2013