Plastic bag manufacturers battle taxes and bans

This is where your Wal Mart bag life begins: in Elkridge, not far from Baltimore Washington International Marshall Airport, at a hulking factory the size of three football fields. Millions of bags with blue Wal mart logos or red Target bull spin through Advance Polybag plant. The operation runs nonstop, every day, even Christmas.

For the factory owners and its 140 employees, producing a useful staple of everyday life represents one version of the American dream. But to environmentalists and some politicians, the millions of bags produced by the plant every day are a plague upon the Earth, fouling rivers, oceans and forests.

Plastic bags have been banned in some parts of the country and taxed in others, including the District and Montgomery County. Just last month, Maryland lawmakers considered imposing the country first statewide bag tax, of 5 cents. The legislation didn make it to the floor of the House of Delegates, but proponents promise to push the measure again next year.

is coming, one way or another, said Dereck E. Davis (D Prince George chairman of the powerful House Economic Matters Committee, where a watered down version of the bill died after passing in the environmental committee. whole idea of free bags is going by the wayside. It not a matter of if, but when. tough talk has the plastic bag industry girded for a long battle against taxes and bans not just in Maryland but around the country, where dozens of measures are under consideration. The industry fear, experts say, is that even though plastic bags account for only $9.8 billion of the $374 billion plastics business, targeting bags could be a starting point for increased regulatory scrutiny against other plastic products, including bottles.

Along with industry trade groups, executives from Advance Polybag and Hilex Poly, another top bag maker, are on the offensive, hiring public relations firms and lobbyists, writing op eds, backing social media campaigns with titles such as BagTheBan. They complain their views aren given a fair hearing by lawmakers and regulators, who often leave their testimony to the very end of hearings.

us a fair debate, said Bill Ebeck, Advance Polybag director of sales, in an interview at the Elkridge plant attended by a representative from Edelman, the New York public relations firm that also represents Wal Mart. can presen fake rolex t the truths from the facts, as opposed to the opinions.

Ebeck recently published an op ed calling plastic bags declaring bags aren a major environmental problem and noting that the hardest hit families, every nickel counts. a wonder

Plastic bags weren always an object of derision.

Back then, the bag was viewed with something like wonder.

the bag is so maligned that we forget what an engineering marvel it is: a waterproof, durable, featherweight packet capable of holding more than a thousand times its weight, Freinkel wrote.

But it wasn an immediate hit. Shoppers like the way a checkout clerk often licked his fingers to pull a plastic bag free from the rack, or the fact that the bags wouldn stand up, Freinkel wrote.

After companies showed consumers that a flat bottom bag wasn always needed, plastic bags caught on. Today companies such as Advance Polybag, which is based near Houston, produce millions a day in factories around the United States. By some estimates, consumers use more than a trillion plastic bags around the world every year. Advance Polybag generates about $260 million a year in sales, according to .

The problem, according to environmentalists, is that th fake rolex fake rolex g>e bags are so light and so bountiful that they frequently fly away from custody, clogging streams and waterways, getting stuck in trees, polluting oceans. That one side of the argument, which is pushed not just by environmentalists but also the paper bag industry. In some anti bag legislation, paper bags have been included with plastics, making paper bag manufacturers angry and defensive.

paper bag has been unfairly lumped into the single use bag category, said Christopher Klein, environmental manager for Kentucky based Duro Bag, the country largest paper bag maker, whose customers include Macy and Dunkin Donuts. bags are much more sustainable and are the better option for the environment. plastic industry, not surprisingly, disagrees. Its side of the argument goes like this: Plastic bags are recyclable, bags are often used more than once, they generate less waste than paper, regulatory action increases costs for lower income consumers, environmental pollution is exaggerated by plastic bag haters, and reusable bags are made in China, and lastly, they often become a breeding ground for germs.

The facts, according to the Environmental Protection Agency: 2010, the category of plastics which includes bags, sacks, and wraps was recycled at almost 12 percent and plastic bags, sacks and wraps comprise less than 1 percent of the municipal solid waste stream. Plastic bags represented more than 20 percent of trash in the Anacostia River, according to a 2008 study prepared by the Anacostia Watershed Society, a nonprofit environmental group.

SPI, the plastics industry trade group, helps executives push their arguments to politicians around the country through the American Progressive Bag Alliance, a collection of top bag producers. The industry is also active on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. care about the amount of plastic litter in our environment, an online petition says, I don think banning or taxing plastic grocery bags would be the right decision for my community.

The industry has one other argument: jobs. SPI says 30,000 people work in the plastic bag industry. About 150 of them work at Advance Polybag Elkridge plant. Though the industry makes fake rolex the jobs argument often, including recently in Annapolis to the House Economic Matters committee, the chairman of the committee said the industry financial defense didn carry much weight.

think it par for the course, said Davis, who voted in favor of the tax legislation. we do this sort of thing, the industry trade associations will paint a gloom and doom picture. Of bag executives and the trade groups, Davis said, don think they had an influence at all. Rather, he thinks the committee was concerned about adding another tax this session after passing other revenue measures, including a gas tax increase.

One place the jobs message has resonated: inside Advance Polybag plants. The company employees, many of them refugees from Burma military dictatorship, say they have been worried not just about losing precious overtime or even their jobs, but about paying a tax on their cash tight trips to the grocery or drug store.

going to be difficult for my family, predicted Se Thlie, a 28 year old Burmese refu speaking through an interpreter. going to be less hours, or I might lose my job. works as a quality control worker at the behemoth facility not far from I 95. Her days are long and noisy. A plastic bag might eventually float quietly away in the wind, landing who knows where, but a bag birth as tiny polyethylene pellets melted and then stretched in one of more than two dozen hulking extruders is so loud that workers stick plugs in their ears.

Ebeck said Advance Polybag would rather spend money on expanding operations than battling legislators.

you are under attack, you spend money fighting legislation and we could be creating jobs, he said. Asked whether a 5 cent statewide tax could affect employment levels, Ebeck replied, you keep attacking an industry, sooner or later it gonna affect employment.

Would the firm move the plant? couldn answer that, he said.

Sen. Jamie B. Raskin (D Montgomery ), a co sponsor of the bag tax legislation, said bag producers should diversify their products to get along in a world he sees moving away from plastic bags. is out to hurt them, Raskin said. we would have no progress on clean water, clean air and environmental change if we bowed down to an industry that was financially invested in the status quo. while Advance Polybag employees are concerned about their own status quo, there is some recognition of the opposing side in the debate.

Wesley Hughes, a 51 year old forklift driver at the plant who helps load bags on upwards of 20 tractor trailers a day, said he was worried about the tax, particularly as a consumer. Asked whether it ever occurred to him that plastic bags could be controversial, Hughes said, the environment, he said.

Plastic Bag Makers Kick Off Series of Plastic Bag Recycling Events to Celebrate

ARLINGTON, Va., April 12 /PRNewswire USNewswire/ To help promote the growing national trend of plastic bag recycling, the Progressive Bag Affiliates (PBA) of the American Chemistry Council announces a trio of new recycling partnerships to launch during Earth Month. of new recycling bins for plastic bags and product wraps will roll out around the country over the next few weeks as municipal leaders, local businesses and community partners work to spread the message about the importance of recycling plastic bags.

On April 14th Philadelphia’s Temple University, and the PBA will partner with Keep Philadelphia Beautiful and the Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association to launch the citywide plastic bag recycling education campaign “Bring It Back Philly.” event will be broadcast live on the PBA’s Ustream Channel at 11:00 AM. channel also will host a live chat during the event. can be a part of the conversation by logging in during the livestream or follow event updates on twitter with the hashtag bbphilly.

On April 20th in King County, Washington, PBA will join city and school officials in the “Bag Your Bags, Bring ’em Back” collection challenge at Kennydale Elementary School. this event children will weigh bags they’ve been collecting, and the winning group will receive a “green” pizza party. this experience, students and area consumers will learn about the importance of recycling their plastic bags and product wraps and how it’s becoming easier and more convenient to do so at grocery stores throughout the community.

Also that week in Florida the PBA will celebr fake rolex ate Earth Day by kicking off the plastic bag recycling campaign, “A Bag’s Life,” a community based public education campaign designed to increase awareness of the growing number of convenient opportunities to recycle plastic bags and wraps in the state.

According to the EPA’s data, the recycling rate for plastic bags and product wraps has doubled since 2005. 2008 an estimated 832,394,000 pounds of post consumer plastic film (including plastic bags and product wraps) were recovered to the latest . boost in recycling is fake rolex being spurred, in part, by greater consumer access to collection programs, primarily at large grocery and retail stores, as well as by new markets for these recycled materials.

“More Americans are recycling plastic bags and wraps than ever before, driven by a growing recognition that plastic is a valuable resource,” said Shari Jackson, director of the Progressive Bag Affiliates of the American Chemistry Council. “We’re pleased to be a part of these three great events that will help further educate consumers about recycling plastic bags and product wraps. “It’s not just bags, we find that many consumers are surprised to learn that they can return dry cleaning bags, newspaper bags and plastic wraps from bread, paper towels, cases of soda and more. materials are recycled into many useful products, including durable backyard decking, fencing, railings, shopping carts and, of course, new bags. What could be more timely than to spread this message during Earth Month,” Jackson said.

Last year, the Progressive Bag Affiliates announced a landmark recycling goal of 40 percent recycled content in all plastic shopping bags made by these companies by 2015. When fully implemented, the Full Circle Recycling Initiative will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 463 million pounds, conserve enough energy (mainly natural gas) to heat 200,000 homes, and reduce waste by 300 million pounds every year. The PBA recycling toolkit is being used by retailers around the nation as a reference for determining the best ways to deploy effective recycling solutions in stores. members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products and services that make people’s lives better, healthier and safer. is committed to improved environmental, health and safety performance through Responsible Care common sense advocacy designed to address major public policy issues, and health and environmental research and product testing. business of chemistry is a $689 billion enterprise and a key element of the nation’s economy. exports. compan fake rolex ies are among the largest investors in research and development. and security have always been primary concerns of ACC members, and they have intensified their efforts, fake rolex working closely with government agencies to improve security and to defend against any threat to the nation’s critical infrastructure.

Plastic bag maker to shut down Mt

Hilex, based in South Carolina, says it’s the world’s largest plastic bag company. In a statement, the company said the move to shut down the Mt. Olive plant is a response to lower dem fake rolex and for plastic bags as consumers turn more to reusable bags for their groceries.

“We have seen a significant shift in demand toward our reusable bag products, and we exp fake rolex ect that product line to maintain a meaningful share of the grocery and retail markets,” Vice President of Operations Ben Mascarello said in a statement.

Workers are set to be laid off in November, according to documents filed with the state. A company representative did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Hilex Poly Co. filed for bankruptcy protection in May, citing a nee fake rolex d to reorganize its debt in the face of tight credit markets. In July, the company emerged from bankruptcy after getting financial backing from Genera fake rolex l Electric’s corporate capital arm.