Bag Bans and Taxes: Wrong for California

Facts show plastic bags are better for the environment, and alternatives cause more environmental damage.

American-made plastic bags are 100% recyclable, reusable, made from natural gas, not oil—and a better choice for the environment, consumers and businesses. 

Legislation to outlaw recyclable plastic bags and tax paper bags will actually cause MORE damage to the environment. Plastic bag production uses less water and produces less carbon, and plastic bags and films are 100% recyclable. Pushing alternatives—paper and so called reusables—will do MORE harm to the environment.


Say NO to bans and taxes on California's plastic bags. The facts are critical when making choices. Here's why banning plastic bags doesn't make sense for the environment or for the economy:

Banning plastic bags will cause MORE harm to the environment. 


Plastic bags are 100% recyclable and a better choice for the environment.  


Plastic bags make up only a small portion of the waste stream.  Targeting a single product and banning plastic bags does not address litter.

  • Plastic bags only make up a tiny fraction (less than 0.5 percent) of the U.S. municipal solid waste stream.  
  • According to a study by Keep America Beautiful, there are a number of items that drive up litter more than plastic bags, including cigarette butts, food wrappers, cups and cans.
  • In fact, plastic bags constituted such a small portion of roadside litter, that they weren't even specifically addressed by the Keep America Beautiful 2009 National Litter Study.


Plastic bag manufacturing and recycling provides good jobs for thousands of California's working families.

  • Approximately 2,000 Californians are employed in the plastic bag manufacturing and recycling sector. 
  • More than 30,000 American manufacturing jobs in 349 plants across the country are threatened by proposed ordinances to ban and tax plastic bags.
  • At a time of prolonged unemployment, American plastic bag manufacturers provide jobs with benefits and invest in green technologies that revolutionize the plastic recycling industry. Any tax or ban would endanger this industry. Risking good jobs based on misinformation is just wrong.

Tell California legislators to do the right thing: protect the environment, stand up for working class families and save California jobs by voting NO on bag bans and taxes.

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Learn the Facts

  • Plastic bags have a lower carbon footprint than paper and reusable bags. More »
  • Plastic bags are chosen by more than 90 percent of consumers at the checkout. About 9 out of every 10 consumers reuse these bags for everyday household purposes. More »
  • Plastic bags provide a cleaner, safer option at the grocery store. Many reusable bags contain high levels of lead; microbiologists have found harmful bacteria like E. coli, salmonella and fecal coliform in reusable bags. More »