ACC Responds To Montgomery County’s Proposed Bag Fee

ACC Responds To Montgomery County’s Proposed Bag Fee

ACC Revs Up Local Action
In a press release dated March 31st, 2010, the American Chemical Council (ACC) announced actions they were taking against Montgomery County, Maryland's proposed fee on single-use bags

An ACC group, Progressive Bag Affiliates, were going to be at a local food store in Rockville, Maryland. Rockville is the county seat of Montgomery County, Maryland. The Montgomery County Council Office Building is located in downtown Rockville.

What was their purpose?
Progressive Bag Affiliates (PBA) were to spend time in local action talking to shoppers. PBA was proposing to the shoppers an alternative solution to single-use bag litter.

The ACC stated: The event is in advance of an upcoming Montgomery County Council hearing on an unnecessary and regressive new tax proposal that will punish consumers by forcing businesses to charge $.05 for each plastic or paper bag they distribute.

The Alternative Solution
PBA members were to tell the shoppers about the convenience and importance of plastic bag recycling as an effective solution to bag litter. The PBA supports a comprehensive reduce-reuse-recycle approach to bag use.

Plastic bag recycling is a growing national trend. In fact, most Maryland grocery stores have plastic bag recycling bins and many national chains like Target, Wal-Mart and Lowe's offer collection bins at their stores. These bins accept plastic grocery bags, bread bags, produce bags, and newspaper bags. They also take plastic product wraps, like around paper towels and diapers.

Misleading Facts?
In the press release, The ACC states: In 2009 over 850 million pounds of used plastic bags and wraps were recycled, that’s a 31 percent increase since 2005. In fact, recycling of bags and wraps grew eight times faster than recycling overall during this period.

There is no reference source to the above facts listed in the press release. There are links to other ACC websites where one might find the source of those statements.

After doing a good bit of searching, I found the report that was probably referenced.(1) Two things stand out about the report:

1. The report was produced for the American Chemical Council. This fact is plainly stated on the report. Furthermore, in the footnotes, the American Chemical Council states, in micro-type, the following:

ACC does not make any warranty or representation, either express or implied, with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this report; nor does ACC assume any liability of any kind whatsoever resulting from the use of or reliance upon any information, conclusion, or options contained herein. The American Chemistry Council sponsored this report.

2. On the front page of the report, in the Executive Summary, is the statement: {quote} Collection of bags through retail programs increased according to some buyers, but this report does not include data directly from the retail sector. {unquote}

In my opinion, without any qualifying reference source, the statement, "recycling of bags and wraps grew eight times faster than recycling overall during this period", would imply that this was bags from the retail sector. I have included the reference to this report below so you can decide for yourself.(1)

I will tell you that the ACC has reputed many articles published on websites about plastic bags because there were no reference sources quoted with the article.

My Summary
I truly feel that recycling is definitely a viable alternative and people should be recycling everything they possibly can. However, recycling only happens when there is a 'willingness to conform'. If people aren't willing to conform, recycling doesn't happen - even when mandated by law. California (AB2440), New York, and other states have passed laws mandating recycling. Most of those laws are unenforceable because of privacy concerns.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), only 7 percent of the total plastic waste generated in 2009 was recovered for recycling.(2)

Therefore, when citizens aren't "willing" to recycle, then legislation must be passed to either take away or tax the product that could easily be recycled but isn't.

Sources:
(1) Moore Recycling Associates
(2) US EPA