Plastic Bag Recycling and Manufacturing Supports Thousands of Jobs

Banning and taxing plastic bags threatens American jobs.

  • Nationwide, more than 24,600 hardworking people are employed and supported by the plastic bag manufacturing and recycling industry.1 At a time when our nation suffers from widespread unemployment and a struggling economy, we can't afford to implement misguided policies that threaten jobs, economic recovery, and American competitiveness. Bag bans and taxes also hurt local businesses and struggling families by adding another cost to every grocery trip.

Bans and taxes on plastic bags hurt America’s working class and kill jobs.

  • Proposed ordinances to ban and tax plastic bags threaten more than 24,600 American recycling and manufacturing jobs in 344 plants across the country.2

  • American plastic bag manufacturers provide jobs with competitive salaries and benefits. In addition, manufacturers invest in innovative green technologies that are revolutionizing the plastics recycling industry.

  • Plastic bag bans and taxes threaten this industry and its workers and stymie technology investments that impact America’s global competitiveness.

Plastic bag bans and taxes hurt small businesses.

  • A 2012 study by the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) found that banning plastic bags negatively impacted retail sales and employment in the ban area, shifting business to stores just outside the bag ban region.3

  • Bag bans can lead to small business layoffs. In Los Angeles County, stores inside the ban area were forced to terminate staff, sometimes by as much as 10 percent. In contrast, stores outside the ban area reported increased employment by 2.4 percent.4

  • Following Seattle’s ban on plastic bags, nearly 40 percent of surveyed store owners reported seeing their costs for carryout bags increase between 40 percent and 200 percent. Added costs directly impact a store’s bottom line and cannot be taken lightly in this economy.5

  • Under threat of fines or penalties, bans and taxes on plastic bags force local businesses to comply with government regulations that mandate measuring, counting, reporting, and maintaining records related to enforcement of these unnecessary laws.

Bag taxes hurt struggling families and take money away from working families.

  • Food prices continue to skyrocket, making now the worst time to raise grocery bills with an extra tax.6

  • The USDA reported that in 2013 there were 17.5 million U.S. households that were food insecure. The focus of our elected officials should be on solving the issue of food insecurity — not hurting the economy and making groceries more expensive by banning or taxing bags.7


  1. Society of the Plastics Industry, “Size and Impact of the Plastics Industry on the U.S. Economy,” December 2015.
  2. Ibid.
  3. National Center for Policy Analysis,”A Survey on the Economic Effects of Los Angeles County’s Plastic Bag Ban,” August 2012.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Seattle City Clerk, “Seattle Public Utilities Plastic Carryout Bag Ban Survey,” January 2013.
  6. Global Food Prices on the Rise, U.N. Says;” Ron Nixon; The New York Times; October 4, 2012.
  7. United States Department of Agriculture, “Food Security in the U.S.,” October 2015.

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