Recently, a lawsuit brought by the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition (a group of plastic bag manufacturers) against Manhattan Beach for its plastic bag ban was set to be heard in the Californian Supreme Court on May 4. Now, plastic bag manufacturers are not only targeting local governments who adopt anti-bag ordinances, but have now targeted reusable bag companies. Plastic bag producers, Hilex Poly Company, Superbag Operating and Advance Polybag have filed a lawsuit against Chico Bag Company for a misrepresentation of its product due to misleading information its website.
According to an article by Paula Alvarado posted on Treehugger.com:
"The facts in dispute include a quote supposedly taken from the EPA website claiming that "Reusable bags need only to be used eleven times to have a lower environmental impact than using eleven disposable bags", some clerical errors due to website formatting (references pointed to the wrong facts), and some statements related to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch."
Chico Bag states, however, that the information was corrected within 72 hours of notice.
This lawsuit appears to be another tactic in the Plastic industry’s attempt to discredit reusable bag use. Prior to these lawsuits, you may remember the quarter page ad the plastic industry ran in the LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and Orange County Register hyping up the health dangers inherent in reusable bags. These dangers are easily mitigated by purchasing bags that meet safety standards and through regular cleanings.
CAW is actively working to combat false claims made by the plastics industry. Visit the links below for factual information about the effects of plastic bag use and the benefits of reusable bags.
Also, one piece of legislation we are currently supporting aims to ensure that reusable bags are indeed safe alternatives. AB 298 (Brownley) forbids the sale or distribution of a reusable bag in California unless it meets specific requirements that ensure its safe use. Keep up to date with AB 298 on our legislation page.