Hailey, Idaho, voters to consider ballot initiative to ban plastic bags, require at least 40% post-consumer content in paper bags; measure exempts plastic bags for bulk items like nuts, grains, meats, fish, plants, baked goods, medicines
November 8, 2011
– Disposable plastic grocery bags would be banned under an initiative that voters in Hailey, Idaho, will consider at the polls on Tuesday, reported USA Today on Nov. 7.
The proposed ordinance would exempt plastic bags for bulk items like nuts, grains, meats, fish, plants, baked goods and medicines. It also requires that paper bags have at least 40% postconsumer recycled content.
The initiative has been pushed by a group of students in the Wood River School’s Environmental Club, which spent nine months working on it, USA Today reported.
Initially, club members wanted to impose a fee on paper bags, but that was dropped after it was determined that Hailey residents were not in favor of any tax.
Hartsville, South Carolina-based Hilex Poly Co. LLC is opposing the ban in newspaper ads and mailings.
Mike Schutz, Hilex Poly’s plant manager in Jerome, Idaho, said the ban could cost jobs and would have “unintended negative environmental consequences,” in a letter to the Idaho Mountain Express, reported USA Today.
The plant employs 125 people and makes recycled-content plastic bags used in Hailey, said Schultz, adding that paper bags create more waste than plastic bags, which are more eco-friendly.
However, Wood River students said job losses would not be an issue as Hilex Poly’s bags are not used much in Hailey, USA Today reported.
Hilex Poly makes plastic bag and film products, focusing mostly on high density polyethylene film products and related services, according to its website.
It claims to operate the world’s largest closed-loop plastic bag recycling facility, which turns the old bags into resin pellets and then into new bags.
Plastic bags are preferred by shoppers, say store operators in Hailey. Paper bags are also four times as expensive, reported USA Today.
The primary source of this article is USA Today, McLean, Virginia, on Nov. 7, 2011.