California Attorney General Rob Bonta says plastic bag manufacturers are flat-out ignoring a law that their bags must be recyclable, and says grocery-bag makers must now produce proof that their bags can be recycled.
It was back in 2014 when then-Governor Jerry Brown signed a law that banned single-use plastic bags and required that grocery bags at least be recyclable. SFist speculated at the time that plastic bag manufacturers “won't rest until California's voters repeal the law, with a move that could delay the law's implementation until 2017, or later.”
There was a ballot measure on the law in 2016, and voters upheld the ban on non-recyclable bags. But manufacturers may have a different way around the law — by just plain ignoring it. The Chronicle reports that state Attorney General Rob Bonta is accusing bag manufacturers of not using recyclable bags, and selling non-recyclable bags while falsely claiming they are recyclable.
“Plastic bags are legally required to be recyclable, but astonishingly, there’s a good chance that most, if not all, these bags are not actually recyclable in California,” Bonta said at a Wednesday morning press event.
Per the Chronicle, Bonta sent a letter to seven major bag manufacturing companies “demanding they provide proof that their bags can really be recycled.” He alleged the bags may falsely be labeled with those three "chasing arrows" in a triangle indicating recyclable materials. Or, even if the bags, are recyclable, “many bag manufacturers may be producing their product without making sure infrastructure is in place to recycle their bags."
The bag companies are not household names, but you’ve probably used their products. The letter was sent to companies Advance Polybag, Inteplast, Metro Polybag, Novolex, Papier-Mettler, Revolution, and Travelway.
There is no lawsuit here yet, just a demand that the companies show proof their bags can be recycled. And with no hard threat, the manufacturers could have some wiggle room room to get themselves into compliance with state laws.
Related: An Argument For Plastic Bags [SFist]