National industry opposes Vermont's new plastic bag ban

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National industry opposes Vermont's new plastic bag ban

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 11:36am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine While there has not been local opposition to what will be the most restrictive plastic bag law in the US, the national American Chemistry Council has issued a statement decrying Governor Phil Scott’s (R-VT) signing Monday of S113 (management of single-use products) that bans certain polystyrene foam foodservice packaging and plastic bags. Plastic bag manufacturers previously stated their opposition to the ban, saying that the replacement products, such as the heavy-duty reusable totes, are made overseas instead of in the US, like the standard plastic bag. The law bans grocery store plastic bags, but not those for produce. The standard paper grocery bag would cost customers 10 cents.

The bill "proposes to prohibit food service establishments from providing plastic carryout bags, expanded polystyrene food service products, and plastic straws to customers. It also proposes to require the Agency of Natural Resources to convene a working group to assess the progress of municipal implementation of single-use carryout plastic bag bans. The working group would report back by January 15, 2020 with recommendations."

Adam S Peer, senior director, packaging, Plastics Division of ACC said in the statement: “ACC supports efforts made by states and businesses to reduce the amount of waste that can litter our nation’s lakes, streets, and waterways.  Unfortunately, this legislation will do little to actually eliminate litter in Vermont.  Banning of certain types of foodservice packaging and bags does not reduce litter, but merely changes what is found in the waste stream.  Comprehensive legislation that increases curb-side recycling, advances new technologies, and helps educate the public on littering and recycling is the best course of action to tackle the nation’s and state’s litter problem.  Additionally, the use of alternatives for products like polystyrene foodservice containers and bags will increase environmental impacts, as plastics have a smaller environmental footprint compared to available alternatives.

“ACC is committed to helping end plastic waste, which is why we have set goals to have 100 percent of plastics packaging be recyclable or recoverable by 2030 and re-used, recycled, or recovered by 2040.  Many of our members helped found the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, which aims to invest over $1.5 billion to deliver waste management solutions where they are needed most. Experts say up to 60 percent of marine plastic comes from just five countries. And while the US accounts for less than one percent of litter in the ocean, ACC is committed to working with communities so that 100 percent of plastic packaging is reused, recycled or recovered.

“It is our sincere hope that Governor Scott and the Vermont Legislature will reconsider this legislation after they see how it will negatively impact the environment and local businesses and consumers.”

Source: WASHINGTON (June 18, 2019) – Today, the American Chemistry Council