The Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS; Washington, DC) noted in its recent Advocacy Regrind that currently there are 10 states and the District of Columbia that are making it their New Year’s resolution to legislate against plastic. That ought to send up a red flag for everyone in the industry. PLASTICS noted that it is keeping a close eye on these states and any legislation they will propose in the coming year.
Number one on the watchlist is the People’s Republic of California, which will be eyeing legislation on “single-use plastics.” That doesn’t bode well for plastics processors in that state, if there are any left. Nevada and Arizona have offered safe havens for plastics processors for a number of years and that trend might continue if things get worse.
New Jersey, a high-tax state which has been losing businesses and residents to warmer, friendlier climes like Florida for quite some time, also is on the watchlist. According to PLASTICS, that state will continue its efforts to ban straws, EPS and plastic bags. My guess is that in another 10 years there won’t be enough people left in New Jersey to even care about this issue.
D.C. has a plastic straw ban that goes into effect January 1. I wonder if D.C. conducted any straw polls to see whether people actually think that, in the grand scheme of everything that goes on in that town, anyone really cares. Let’s face it—with or without plastic straws, D.C. sucks!
Chicago certainly needs to ban plastic straws—it’s the biggest problem that city has, so I hear. PLASTICS is keeping an eye on the Windy City as it seeks a voter referendum encouraging the City Council to ban plastic straws. I’d say that even if it passes it will have about as much of an effect on plastic waste as the city’s gun ban has had on crime.
New Hampshire, according to PLASTICS, has a “suite of plastic product bans filed,” and has already banned plastic straws. I did find an NBC News report that noted New Hampshire has more to worry about than straws when it comes to protecting the marine environment: Cigarette butts! According to NBC News, those are the most-collected items on beaches around the world and often get mistaken for food by sea life when they wash out to sea.
Montana is on the watchlist for having filed legislation to ban EPS. I can think of a lot of things Montana might be drowning in but EPS isn’t one of them. But, everyone has to ban something in order to appear “green,” so it might as well be EPS.
Rhode Island is expected to ban both plastic straws and bags.
Oregon is proposing legislation that will allow plastic straws upon request.
The Los Angeles City Council is “pursuing a complete ban on plastic straws by 2021,” so it’s BYOS if you travel there after that date. That should solve all of that city’s problems!
Maryland will likely see the return of legislation to ban EPS. An EPS ban was voted down last March, but hope springs eternal for the anti-plastics crowd.
Hawaii is likely to introduce a “suite of plastic bills . . . again.” You probably already read about my experience in Maui with paper straws so I won’t go into it again.
It seems that banning plastic “something/anything” is in vogue, so token bans on straws and bags in these U.S. cities and states, which will have no real impact on the global environment, seem to offer proof that they are environmentally conscious. It also gives state legislators and city council people something to justify their jobs.
2019 will be more of the same.
Happy New Year!