More than 450 organizations are backing the Yes on 67 campaign, the effort to preserve the state’s plastic bag ban. There are some you would expect, like the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Surfrider Foundation, and Environment California. But the list is also heavily populated by many that fall in the “not-your- usual-suspects” category: heavy-hitter business groups like the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Bay Area Council, the Silicon Valley Leadership Council, the Valley Industry and Commerce Association (VICA), and our organization, the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.
The reason organizations who speak for thousands of members, including California-based companies including Clif Bar, Fetzer Vineyards, and Patagonia, back Proposition 67 is that it is a common-sense law that works effectively in more than 150 communities across our state. Put simply, a statewide plastic ban will reduce plastic in our ocean, saves tax dollars in reduced litter cleanup and other costs, and help create uniformity and new opportunities that are good for business.
Throughout the state, we see companies that make reusable bags blossom. In Los Angeles, Green Vets Los Angeles is putting veterans to work making bags. In Chico, Chico Bag has won world awards for its sustainability efforts. Roplast Industries in Oroville reports a booming business in sales of reusable bags throughout the state, and has significantly expanded its payroll during the past few years.
Private sector businesses like these are not alone in backing plastic bag bans. Both the League of California Cities and the California State Association of Counties endorsed Proposition 67, largely for fiscal reasons. They know that single-use plastic bags are responsible for millions of dollars in costs — from jamming up recycling equipment, to litter clean-up expenses, to causing problems when clogging storm water drains. These costs are presently passed along to businesses and taxpayers.
What is particularly disappointing in this campaign has been the assault on our state’s business community by the companies from Texas, South Carolina, and China that are seeking to overturn the law that was signed by Governor Brown in 2014. Their attacks of “backroom deals” in the Capitol have no foundation in fact; local bag bans have been the result of community voices not powerful special interests.
Nor is profit a motivation for support. Independent grocers are paying 11 cents or more for bags.Even with a 10 cent fee, many businesses are losing money on bag sales.
It is also important to note that grocers never supported bag bans until they concluded it was in everyone’s interest — both consumers and businesses — to have a single, uniform state standard for regulation. That is not unlike action on many other issues by business when single standards make economic sense rather than the regulatory costs of trying to confirm to the individual regulations of hundreds of communities.
We support Proposition 67 because it’s good for California — for business, for consumers and for our environment.