Webinar now available: “Bag the Bag in Your Community”

The Center for a New American Dream‘s “Bag the Bag in Your Community” webinar is now available here.

On September 23, 2015, Center for a New American Dream presented a webinar about how to organize a campaign to eliminate plastic bags in communities across the country. The webinar revealed how to get started, how to build public support, and how to navigate the related legislative and legal issues—with a special look at successful initiatives in Washington, DC and Chicago, IL.

Guest Speakers:

Jordan ParkerBring Your Bag Chicago

Chris KiblerDepartment of Energy and the Environment, Washington, DC

Jennie RomerPlasticbaglaws.org




“Bag the Bag in Your Community” Webinar featuring Jennie Romer from plasticbaglaws.org

“Bag the Bag in Your Community” Webinar
Center for a New American Dream
Wednesday, September 23, 2015 at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT



Did you know that Americans use and throw away 100 billion plastic bags every year? That means that the 12 million barrels of oil required annually to make the bags is used once, then flushed into our oceans and landfills. (The Wall Street Journal)You can help make a difference in the way we use and dispose of plastic bags. On September 23 at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT, New Dream will present a webinar on how to organize a campaign to eliminate plastic bags in your community.


The webinar will reveal how to get started, how to build public support, and how to navigate the related legislative and legal issues—with a special look at successful initiatives in Washington, DC and Chicago, IL.


Guest Speakers:
Jordan Parker, Bring Your Bag Chicago
Chris Kibler, Dept of Energy and the Environment, Washington, DC
Jennie Romer, Plasticbaglaws.org



BagItNYC Coalition Urges Mayor to Adopt Carryout Bag Bill By Earth Day

Last month, over 70 environmental and community organizations sent letters to the Mayor de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito urging them to pass NYC’s carryout bag bill (Int. No. 209-2014) by Earth Day.

Today marks two weeks before Earth Day (April 22nd) and coalition members have expanded their call with a MoveOn.org petiton that echos the request for the Mayor and Speaker to work with the City Council to adopt the bill, which would require a 10 cents charge for all carryout bags, by Earth Day.

New Yorkers wanting to express their support can sign the MoveOn.org petition in additon to signing a petiton by NYC coalition member group New York League of Coalition Voters and registering on the BagItNYC coalition web page.

Other coverage of the bill includes this The Story of Stuff Project summary and this Salon.com article about BagItNYC.org’s interactive crowd-sourced Instagram map of plastic bag litter in NYC.
























Plastics Industry Groups Are Fighting to Preempt Local Plastic Bag Laws All Over the Country, The Industry Lost in Georgia Last Week

Texas, Georgia, Arizona and Missouri all have bills introduced this session that would preclude cities and local agencies from taking action on local issues – including plastic bag ordinances. This tactic of state law preemption to prevent local plastic bag ordinances is far from new.

In fact, in California, the main reason why cities ended up moving forward with bans on thin plastic bags (and charges for paper and reusable bags) rather than fees on all carryout bags is that preemption of local plastic bags fees (but not bans) was snuck into a 2006 statewide plastic bag recycling law (AB 2449, click here for the full story).

In Florida in 2008, a state law was adopted that required the Department of Environmental Protection to submit a report to the state Legislature regarding regulation of bags and no local government could enact any regulation on the use of disposable plastic bags until the Legislature acted on the report. The Retail Bags Report was submitted in 2010 and no action has been taken to date, which means that local bag laws are preempted in Florida.

In Illinois in 2012, a plastic bag ban preemption law passed both houses but was vetoed by the Governor only after Abby Goldberg, 13, penned a petition on Change.org that gathered 173,000 signatures.

Last week, on March 27, 2015, the Georgia House heard Senate Bill 139 and the bill was defeated by a solid 85 to 67 margin. The official bill summary reads:

A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Chapter 1 of Title 10 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to selling and other trade practices, so as to provide that any regulation regarding the use, disposition, or sale or any imposition of any prohibition, restriction, fee imposition, or taxation of auxiliary containers shall be done only by general law; to provide for legislative findings; to provide for a definition; to provide for related matters; to provide an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

The Georgia vote is one small victory in the plastics industry’s (which is funded by the petroleum industry) fight to stop plastic bag laws. Preemption bills are happening elsewhere and are likely to spread but this win shows that grassroots advocates are prepared to stand up to the petroleum industry’s well-funded lobbying efforts.

The Village of Hastings-on-Hudson Sued By Grocer’s Industry Group Over Bag Ban, Court Opinion Expected Soon

The Village of Hastings-on-Hudson was sued in October 2014 over the plastic bag ban that they had adopted in June of that year. The main claim in the lawsuit relates to the Village banning plastic bags but not addressing paper bags, which the Food Industry Alliance of New York State, Inc. (FIA) claims requires full EIS review under New York’s State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR) because they claim that an increase in the use of paper bags could have a greater negative impact on the environment.

All lawsuit documents have been filed and no hearing is scheduled. The Judge is expected to make a ruling based solely on the papers filed soon. Click here to view the The Village of Hastings-on-Hudson official lawsuit documents.

This lawsuit was expected and is very similar to tactics used by plastics industry and grocer groups in California (click here for a short history of what happened in California).

For a more detailed history of similar tactics used all over the US and how ordinance structures have evolved, see this law journal article.




NYC City Council committee hears plastic bag bill Wednesday, law journal article about NYC bag bill now available

This Wednesday (Nov 19th) at 1:00pm, the New York City Council’s Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management will hear the bill to put a 10-cent charge on carryout bags at all stores in NYC.   This is the only opportunity for members of the public to comment on the legislation.  There will also be a press conference and rally right before the hearing at noon on City Hall steps. Read the rest of this entry »

NYC Bring Your Own Bag Week is Sept 15-21

Do you live in New York City? Then you’ve seen plastic bags blowing through traffic, stuck in trees and clogging our sewers. If you’ve had enough of the litter and waste, you’re on the right track.  If you don’t think these bags are a problem, think again.

Sept 15th-21st we challenge NYC to #BYOBag!

Read the rest of this entry »

California’s Statewide Bag Bill Clears the Assembly, Heads to the Senate

California’s statewide bag bill SB 270 cleared the Assembly today and heads to the Senate.  After 12 attempts at statewide bag legislation over 6 years, California could be set for a bag ban statewide.

If you live in California and are supportive of this bill, please call your state Senator TODAY (the vote could be today).  Find your Senator’s contact information here.




Aspen, CO Win’s Lawsuit Defending Their Carryout Bag Ordinance

The City of Aspen, CO adopted a local law placing a fee on carryout bags in 2011.  The ordinance  bans single-use plastic bags in Aspen’s grocery stores and imposes a $0.20 fee per paper bag used by most shoppers in Aspen’s grocery stores and was meant as an environmental and public health protection measure to incentivize shoppers to use reusable bags in order to reduce the environmental impacts and waste generated by single-use paper and plastic bags. Read the rest of this entry »

California’s Statewide Bag Bill (SB 270) Passes Appropriations Committee and Heads to a Vote on the Assembly Floor

California’s statewide bag bill (SB 270) would ban thin plastic carryout bags and mandate that retailers charge at least 10 cents for all other carryout bags.  SB 270 passed the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Thursday.  The bill now heads to the Assembly floor for vote. Read the rest of this entry »