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“Plastic Bags Have Lobbyists. They’re Winning.”

“Eight states ban the bag, but nearly twice as many have laws protecting them.”

“TRENTON, N.J. — The plastic shopping bag has long been hunted by state and local policymakers pushing for its extinction. But still it thrives, thanks to the deep-pocketed chemical industry that birthed it and the political influence of retailers and restaurants. Only eight states ban single-use plastic bags. Nearly twice as many have laws protecting them.

To take on a global and well-heeled industry, U.S. environmentalists have adopted a strategy of winning hyper-local grassroots victories to build momentum to ban the bag and other plastics. The approach helped California environmentalists win a referendum to uphold a bag ban in 2016, and, in 2019, legislation to phase out plastic hotel toiletry bottles.

Other states are attempting to follow suit. New York is implementing a bag ban passed in 2019, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to do away with plastic foam. In New Jersey, at least 46 municipalities already limit plastic bag use, and the Legislature last week was on the verge of passing a statewide ban on bags and polystyrene food containers.”

Samantha Maldonado, Bruce Ritchie, and Debra Kahn report for Politico January 20, 2020.