The Info Is In The Bag

Huntington Beach Repeals Two Year Ban On Plastic Bags

Posted April 30, 2015 custom paperAll across the nation, businesses and organizations are trying to incorporate energy savings and eco-friendly measures, but the specifics of doing it can get a bit confusing. In Huntington Beach, California, city officials voted to repeal a ban on plastic bags -- a ban that was in place for two years, and initially celebrated as groundbreaking and precedent-setting. Out of all of the council members, just one voted to let the ban stand. What now?

"It'll take at least 30 days for the ordinance to have a second reading and go into effect, ending grocers' ability to charge 10 cents per paper bag," The Honolulu Star Advertiser reports. A statewide vote will revisit the matter of plastic bags and a possible ban in November 2016. Thanks to California's indecision, a lot of business owners are not quite certain where they stand. What is the best course of action for companies using custom paper and/or plastic bags?

Is Charging For Bags Effective?
With Americans throwing out 185 pounds of plastic and 14 million trees being lost to paper bags every year, it is clear that companies must -- at the very least -- do something. For some, the answer has been to charge a small fee per bag to discourage excessive paper or plastic bag use. The same companies may also sell environmentally friendly totes (typically for $1 or less) that are larger and last longer than plastic and paper alternatives. Whether this is the most effective method remains to be seen, and some customers certainly do not appreciate the extra charge -- even if it's diminutive.

Recycle And Reuse
Another option is for stores to order custom paper or plastic bags made out of recycled materials. With the vast majority of Americans reusing printed bags and plastic bags (90%), it makes a lot of sense for companies to chip in and do their part by choosing bags made out of eco friendly plastic or recycled paper.

What is the consensus on paper and plastic bags? Unfortunately, right now, there is none. Companies can make an effort by discouraging excessive use with a small fee, or they can order bags made out of recycled or re-purposed materials.