Plastic Bag Recycling and Manufacturing Supports Thousands of Jobs

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

  • Food prices continue to skyrocket, and people don’t need their grocery bills increased with an extra tax.¹
  • The USDA reported that in 2018 there were 14.3 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. ²

Banning and taxing plastic bags threatens American jobs.

  • Nationwide, thousands of hardworking men and women are employed and supported by the plastic bag manufacturing and recycling industry.³ At a time when many communities around the nation suffer from 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 nearly 30,000 American manufacturing and recycling jobs in 344 plants across the country.
  • Low-income workers have complained publicly³ that such policies are “discriminatory,” especially for those who rely on public transportation to get to low-wage jobs, and there has even been a lawsuit⁴ filed saying a ban discriminates against the disabled.
  • 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.⁵
    • Connecticut’s 2019 plastic bag tax resulted in shoppers crossing state lines to avoid the fee.⁶
  • 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%. In contrast, stores outside the ban area reported increased employment by 2.4%.⁵
  • Following Seattle’s ban on plastic bags, nearly 40% of surveyed store owners reported seeing their costs for carryout bags increase between 40% and 200%. Added costs directly impact a store’s bottom line and cannot be taken lightly in this economy.⁷
  • 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.
  1. Global Food Prices on the Rise, U.N. Says;” Ron Nixon; The New York Times; October 4, 2012.
  2. United States Department of Agriculture, “Household Food Security in the United States in 2018,” September 2019.
  3. Texas Public Radio, “How A Bag Ban Would Create A Burden For People Without Vehicles, Low Income.” May 2014.
  4. Austin American-Statesman, “Austin man says bag ban discriminates against disabled,” February 2014.
  5. National Center for Policy Analysis, ”A Survey on the Economic Effects of Los Angeles County’s Plastic Bag Ban,” August 2012.
  6. WWLP, “Customers to pay more as Connecticut retailers tax plastic bags,” August 2019.
  7. Seattle City Clerk, “Seattle Public Utilities Plastic Carryout Bag Ban Survey,” January 2013.