Dec 18 - Plastic Bag Companies Surpass $3 Mill Mark in Campaign to Force Referendum on Bag Ban (Press Release)

Submitted by Recycling News on December 18, 2014 - 12:37.

For Immediate Release

98% of Funds Are From Out of State

SACRAMENTO -- Plastic bag makers have spent more than $3 million -- or more than $5 per signature -- in hopes of placing a referendum on the state's recently-passed plastic bag ban on the November 2016 ballot, according to new data from the California Secretary of State.

Nearly 98 percent of the contributions are from out-of-state companies, according to the reports. Hilex Poly of South Carolina (which has no manufacturing plants in California), is the largest contributor to the campaign, with $1.7 million in contributions to date. Several other bag makers and suppliers, mostly from Texas, also have contributed to the campaign, as has Dow Chemical ($10,000), maker of Agent Orange and DDT.

According to reports, paid signature gatherers are being paid more than $3 per signature they gather (up from $1.50 signature at the beginning of the campaign) and being provided with housing by a signature collection firm. Plastic bag makers must present 504,760 valid signatures to the Secretary of State by Dec. 29 to qualify the referendum.  

On Monday, California vs. Big Plastic, the coalition of local and environmental groups opposing the referendum, filed a complaintwith the California Secretary of State calling for an investigation of dozens of voter complaints about deceptive practices in signature gathering.

“It’s a testament to the public support for the plastic ban that these out of state bag producers have been forced to increase their expenditures to more than $5 per signature this month in an attempt to qualify a repeal of the law. We have documented and reported to the Secretary of State dozens of instances of paid signature gatherers misleading voters in an attempt to get their signature,” said Mark Murray of Californians Against Waste. “California voters are already seeing this campaign for what it is: out-of-state special interests spending millions to protect profits.”

USC/Los Angeles Times poll last month showed overwhelming support for the plastic bag ban. Dozens of more communities, including Sacramento, are planning to move forward with local bans if the referendum qualifies. Some 138 jurisdictions in the statealready have bans.

Out of State          $3,018,333        97.99%
California                  $62,000           2.01%
Grand Total        $3,080,333        

State of Origin              Amount
SC                          $1,700,000.01
TX                             $843,333.34
NJ                            $400,000.00
CA                              $62,000.00
MS                              $50,000.00
NY                              $25,000.00
Grand Total         $3,080,333.35

Contributor                                                                Amount    Percentage
HILEX POLY CO. LLC                                           $1,700,000      55.19%
ADVANCE POLYBAG, INC.                                    $500,000      16.23%
FORMOSA PLASTICS CORPORATION U.S.A.      $400,000      12.99%
SUPERBAG CORP.                                                   $333,333      10.82%
DURABAG CO., INC.                                                 $50,000        1.62%
HERITAGE PLASTICS INC.                                        $50,000        1.62%
PRINCE RUBBER AND PLASTICS CO., INC.            $25,000        0.81%
CROWN POLY, INC.                                                    $12,000       0.39%
THE DOW CHEMICAL COMPANY                             $10,000       0.32%
Grand Total                                                           $3,080,333