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Plastic Bag Ban Could Kill Manufacturing Jobs

May 2, 2014

The Chicago City Council’s decision to ban plastic shopping bags will damage the plastics manufacturing industry’s ongoing efforts to create and maintain American manufacturing jobs, according to SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association.

The City Council voted April 30 to ban the use of all plastic shopping bags from retailers including grocery stores and chains with more than three locations or franchise stores of more than 10,000 sq ft. The ordinance takes effect August 2015.

“It is extremely unfortunate that the Chicago City Council passed an ordinance that could destroy plastics manufacturing jobs in Chicago and other areas across the country that recycle these valuable products,” said SPI president and CEO William R. Carteaux. “The Council’s decision will hurt consumers when they purchase basic necessities such as food, clothing, and household goods.

“The truth is singling out one product that makes less than one percent of the U.S. municipal solid waste stream will have no meaningful impact on reducing litter. Instead, it will result in forcing consumers to use products such as reusable bags, which are mostly imported from China, made from foreign oil and are not recyclable,” said Carteaux.

Lee Califf, executive director of the American Progressive Bag Alliance, added, “Chicago’s decision to ban multi-use, recyclable plastic bags is misinformed and directly contradicts Chicago’s economic development efforts, essentially creating a new tax for shoppers. Alderman Joe Moreno, who authored the ban, admitted in his Chicago Tribune op-ed that post to consumer was left out of the equation. ‘If retailers want to pass the cost on to consumers, they are welcome to do so,’ he wrote.

“At a time when Chicago is troubled by rising crime and budget shortfalls, it is unbelievable that the city’s aldermen and the mayor would choose to advance a misguided policy that will achieve no environmental benefit and, at the same time, harm businesses and consumers. This legislation, based on misinformation and photo-op politics, threatens a sector of the manufacturing industry that employs 30,800 Americans, including 3000 people in Illinois,” Califf said.

Plastic bag bans implemented in several areas of the country have resulted in limited success. For example, a recent National Center for Policy Analysis study of bag bans and budgets for litter collection and waste disposal in San Francisco, San Jose, and the city and county of Los Angeles; Washington DC; and Brownsville and Austin, TX, showed no evidence of a reduction in costs attributable to reduced use of plastic bags.

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