Bag The Ban – By County


Please let us know what is happening in your County! Send brief updates to both Zero Waste Advocacy Committee and NCRA News. See County listings at end.

  1. Determine if local public agencies – the county, cities, special districts,agencies, etc., have policies on the two initiatives and whether help is needed establishing, supporting or refuting these policies.
  2. Tell NCRA when a speaker is needed to be present at an event where some public agency is making up its mind or thinking about changing it.
  3. Communities that already have local bag ban laws should not sit on their hands but make sure all voters know why 67 is so important and that it is at the end of a long ballot.

BY COUNTY – In progress

ALAMEDA – Contact Arthur Boone/ZWAC

SONOMA – Contact Portia Sinnott/NCRA News. At the August Sonoma County Local Task Force For Solid Waste meeting it was decided to send letters to the Board of Supervisors, the Joint Powers Agency and all cities asking each to go on record in support of 67 and against 65. The next step is for the LTF members to contact our elected officials to reinforce this request. Tabling and tabling training starts the week of 10/17. Phone banking with Clean Water Action will be encouraged.








Vote YES on PROP 67 to Uphold the California Bag Ban!

NCRA has taken a fervent YES position on Prop 67!  Please get involved, and share with others the importance of upholding the California Bag Ban!

Links to websites for more info and ways to get involved:

Protect Plastic Bag Ban Campaign
CAW Campaign
Surfrider Campaign

If Proposition 67 is approved by the state’s voters, it would:[1][2]

  • Ratify Senate Bill 270 (2014).
  • Prohibit large grocery stores and pharmacies from providing plastic single-use carryout bags and ban small grocery stores, convenience stores and liquor stores from doing so the following year.
  • Allow single-use plastic bags for meat, bread, produce, bulk food and perishable items.
  • Mandate stores to charge 10 cents for recycled, compostable and reusable grocery bags.
  • Exempt consumers using a payment card or voucher issued by the California Special Supplemental Food Program from being charged for bags.
  • Provide $2 million to state plastic bag manufacturers for the purpose of helping them retain jobs and transition to making thicker, multi-use, recycled plastic bags.

The American Progressive Bag Alliance, an opponent of the measure, is leading the campaign to repeal SB 270.[3]

The Money Behind Big Plastic’s Campaign

More than $6 million has been poured into an effort to challenge California’s plastic bag ban on the November 2016 ballot. Behind the effort are four out-of-state plastic and chemical producers, channeling funds through the plastic industry’s astroturf trade group, “American Progressive Bag Alliance.” Led by ringleader South Carolina-based Hilex Poly and New Jersey-based Formosa Plastics which does not have any locations in California – these companies produce most of the more than 200 billion plastic bags generated in the US annually. View their financial contributions to the referendum campaign at the California Secretary of State’s Website.

Hilex Poly (South Carolina): The top contributor to the American Progressive Bag Alliance (APBA) to overturn the plastic bag ban, having contributed $2.78 million since 2014. Hilex Poly has led lawsuits against municipalities with plastic bag bans and a reusable bag company, all in an effort to protect the lucrative California plastic bag market.

Formosa Plastics (New Jersey): The second largest contributor to the APBA, having contributed $1.5 million so far. Formosa Plastics parent company is suspected in a natural disaster in Vietnam, polluting 120-miles of coastlines and causing a massive fish kill off. In the U.S. Formosa has a long track record of EPA and OSHA violations for pollution and reckless safety standards that have resulted in various polluting violations and the death and injury of numerous employees.

Superbag (Texas): The third largest contributor at $945,719. Superbag is one of a group that has sued cities and other municipalities for banning plastic bags and launched a frivolous lawsuit against ChicoBag, a reusable bag manufacturer, which ChicoBag challenged and the group subsequently dropped, unable to make an actual case.

Advance Polybag (Texas): The fourth largest contributor at $939,333, Also a member of the group that sued municipalities for banning plastic bags and unsuccessfully sued ChicoBag.

Zero Waste At G7 Workshop

EPA Hosts International G7 Alliance On Resource Efficiency Workshop on Sustainable Supply Chain Management
By Gary Liss, Gary Liss & Associates, 04/14/16
With support from The Northern California Recycling Association, U.S. Zero Waste Business Council and Zero Waste USA, I attended the first G7 Alliance on Resource Efficiency workshop held in the United States. The Alliance, founded at the June 2015 G7 Summit, is a forum to share knowledge, create information networks across G7 countries, and encourage collaboration with businesses – large and small, and relevant stakeholders to advance resource efficiency, promote voluntary best practices and foster innovation. The G7 countries are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States; the European Union is also represented.

Hosted by the USEPA, the workshop was held in the Washington, DC area on March 22-23, 2016. Over 150 dignitaries, corporate and government leaders and non-governmental organizations were invited to participate by Mathy Stanislaus, Assistant Administrator for Land and Emergency Response, the highest ranking person in the USEPA responsible for solid waste and recycling. The meeting focus was the use of life cycle concepts in supply chain management to achieve resource efficiency. The automotive industry was showcased as an example where resource efficiency efforts have been pursued.

Speakers from the U.S. included Mr. Stanislaus, Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy and representatives from General Motors, Toyota North America, Ford, 3M, General Electric, Mars Corporation, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Energy, Johnson Controls, University of Tennessee UN Environmental Program, US Business Council on Sustainable Development,  Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council and the Materials Marketplace, Stuffstr, Novelis Aluminum, Suppliers Partnership for the Environment. Bob Gedert, Austin Resource Recovery, and I were the key Zero Waste advocates there – in addition to leading Zero Waste businesses GM and Toyota. Bob was also there as President of the National Recycling Coalition.

The first day focused on upstream issues, and how to address resource efficiency in product design. It was one of the most exhaustive discussions I’ve ever heard on these issues. In addition to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) like GM and Toyota, they had several auto parts recycling speakers. The latter provided some great ideas like asking the OEMs to label parts and participate in a database that would facilitate the use of salvaged and remanufactured parts. The remanufactured parts speaker suggested OEMs help promote these parts as “good as new”, as they are of the same quality and functionality and carry the same warranty as new. A presenter from Japan highlighted that remanufactured auto parts are used significantly more in the U.S. than in Japan, and they are trying to figure out why. One factor is that U.S. insurance companies allow remanufactured parts to replace broken ones. The discussion also highlighted how insurance companies could be a key partner in fostering reuse, and how that industry is championing addressing climate change – due in part to the potential catastrophic losses they may have to cover.

In the smaller group discussions, many ideas were presented and discussed how life cycle analyses (LCAs) and the more general life cycle management approach (LCM) could help with designing for resource efficiency. One of the best models was how 3M uses LCAs and LCM in evaluating new products. Traditional LCAs are very costly and time consuming, and not needed for all products. For 3M, they developed LCMs as a less rigorous tool that’s more of a checklist then the detailed analysis that would be done as part of a LCA.

I asked if a LCA yielded a result that recommended an approach inconsistent with Zero Waste, could they go beyond the LCA outcome? I highlighted the classic case shared by David Allaway of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, of a flexible, non-recyclable pouch being the better container for coffee than a steel can after a LCA was conducted. I suggested that manufactures could go beyond accepting a non-recyclable product and work on designing one that was reusable, recyclable or compostable. (For example, OSC2 of Piedmont, CA is working to develop a backyard compostable pouch for organic food products.) 3M responded that LCAs are only one of many tools used in evaluating new products and they could certainly go beyond LCA conclusions. 3M also noted that there has been an effort globally to develop a consistent framework for conducting LCAs that is due to be completed this year. That effort is also working to develop a simpler, more accessible LCM approach.

The second day, the focus was more on how to improve resource efficiency at product end of use and end of life. was an intriguing example of how new software/social media may assist consumers in tracking the value of their stuff, and where to recover the highest value when ready to discard it – whether selling as is, as repurposed, or recycled, depending on its condition.

In a small group discussion on Zero Waste and maximizing the value of discarded materials, after insightful presentations by GM and Toyota, we had a great brainstorm about what could be done, why it wasn’t being done, and what could be done to enhance Zero Waste and resource efficiency. Some of the ideas discussed are listed below in G7 Zero Waste Small Group Brainstorm.

A full USEPA report from the Workshop is due out in June. Mathy Stanislaus will be keynoting the 5th National Zero Waste Business Conference in Austin on June 3 where he will highlight the most significant outcomes from this Workshop.

I’d like to thank NCRA for their support of my participation in this important event. One of the most valuable things we can get from these impressive efforts to promote the circular economy, resource efficiency and Sustainable Materials Management (SMM), is a seat at the table so we can directly encourage businesses to consider Zero Waste in the design of products, packaging and services. If anyone is interested in working more in this area, let me know. I am co-chair of the SMM Committee of the National Recycling Coalition and would like to connect you with others working in this arena. I can be reached at

ZWAC Minutes, January 2016


This meeting was held on Tuesday, January 12, 2015 at the offices of John Moore, 1970 Broadway, 9th floor, Oakland. Called for 6 p.m. Call-in number is 510/891-9800.

Present were Chair Boone and committee members   Brooms, Knapp, Moore, Russell, Van Deventer, Wright, and Yee; no call-ins. The meeting started at 6:16 p.m. Minutes of the November meeting are now available but were not discussed. The meeting scheduled for December was canceled due to Boone’s illness. Yee (assisted by Boone) served as secretary.


Item 1: Zero Waste Plans in the Northeast Bay: David Tam, presenting.
This matter was pulled in Tam’s absence (We later learned he was ill and could not come.)

Item 2: CalRecycles meeting on December 15th regarding the state’s plan to meet 75% diversion. Arthur Boone, presenting.
Boone was present at this meeting; his first with Scott Smithline as ExDir. Boone was impressed with the openness of staff to new issues and concerns and pleased that our side on questions was well represented (Nick Lapis, Gary Liss, and others); the Waste Reduction and Garbage people were on equal footing. Staff’s major concern seemed to be the shortage of funds needed to capitalize organics processing operations that is widely expected to be the major part of getting to 75%. If the state gets to 75% and CR has only $1.40 per ton in revenue, then we will have a problem. AB 1063 (Das Williams) would raise tipping fees from $1.40/ton to $4.00/ton, (which CR likes), but while Boone does not have any objection to that increase, he would like to see the state trim its staff rather than relying on the taxpayer. (There are 750 employees in all of CalRecycles (includes old Department of Conservation folks) and includes facility regulators. Knapp suggested we ask CR to tell us at RU what all those 750 workers actually do.

Discussion ensued regarding fees for recycling and the issue of declining revenues in revenues from tipping fees. Administrators at CalRecycle expressed concerns around 1) declining revenue 2) how to reach 75% 3) how would the state collect fees? 4) why do the majority of our recyclables end up offshored? In Northern CA we already have a substantial composting infrastructure so Boone thinks the building of composting’s infrastructure should be funded by Southern California as Northern California’s infrastructure has already been developed with our ratepayers’ funds, not the state’s. Staff thinks it will cost about $630 million dollars to develop sufficient organics processing facilities. Some of it may be funded with cap and trade money, but there will be a significant remainder to fund. Knapp noted that the ADC Loophole has not yet been closed yet, and will not be closed until 2020. It was also mentioned that Southern California’s role in regenerative farming is significant since there is ample rangeland and desert. Reference to Alan Savory who long preceded the Marin Carbon Project. Boone said he thought that the crunch point on organics diversion is not markets but getting food out of the trash.

Boone thinks that California, like Oregon, needs to develop capture rate data so that we can have some sense of how successful current diversion programs are. Mary Lou disagreed, thinking that if enough stuff showed up in the landfill audits, that would be data enough. Boone disagreed. Krueger recounted the original AB 939 statistical problems and the 1994 calculated generation data we live with today.

Another topic discussed at the meeting was the offshoring of most of our recyclables for reprocessing and conversion back into basic goods. Boone thinks the state is dodging the fact that California has pursued a de-industrialization program for at least a generation and that paper mills, smelters, glass plants, etc. have been closed and not replaced with in-state capacity. Boone thinks there’s a conspiracy not to talk about the lack of reprocessing infrastructure in the state although plastic reprocessors have been moving ahead here in smaller facilities.

Another topic at this meeting was how the state should collect larger fees, from the local public agencies or the landfills; Boone recounted her had asvised the CR leaders to keep the fees on the landfills.

Kruger had transcribed CalRecycle’s goals for this meeting and reported they were:1)organics out of landfills, 2)expand recycling composting infrastructure, 3) how to fund zero waste programs in the face of declining tipping revenues, 4) state procurement of PCW products, and 5)promoting EPR. Boone noted that the current level of 31 million tons disposal would be cut to 16 million tons per year if we go from 50% to 75%.

Item 3: Voluntary Producer Responsibility [VPR]. Tom Wright, presenting.
Tom was present at the VPR meeting convened by Cal Recycles on January 4 in Sacramento. All major representatives of manufacturers in packaging industries were present EPR was discussed, with comparative discussion of the approaches in the US and Sweden. The meeting showed a propensity of the packaging industry to encourage incineration, and they were certainly not supportive of EPR; nobody spoke out against incineration. [Wright had copies of the ACC’s “Circular Vision for Plastics Recovery” that included “energy recovery” as a suitable end of post-consumer plastics.]

There seems to be a serious interest in stabilizing and unifying the lists of recyclable and compostable materials on the state level. Tom thinks that the packaging industry needs to develop its own plan for sustainable (i.e., no burn, no bury) packaging. Boone thought we should write CR staff on this question but it was generally agreed that too few of us had looked at the presentations from the meeting that are now on-line. No firm action to be taken; Boone and Wright will confer to plan next steps.

Item 4: Should NCRA solicit or accept as Zero Waste Week sponsors persons or entities that own landfills and/or incinerators? John Moore, presenting.
Moore moves and Knapp seconds. Moore thinks that we should not receive sponsorships from haulers and wasters as it would compromise the judgment of NCRA, the recipient and encourages greenwashing. Russell proposes to amend with caveats that sponsors shall not receive sponsorship promotion and funds shall be restricted to activities such as transportation for youth; Moore refuses to amend motion. Van Deventer then offers that NCRA memberships are for individuals so that the organization cannot be bought; NCRA did not take organizational sponsorships for a long time. Knapp then recounted some of his experiences with the NRC in the 1990s when Dow Chemical tried to exert undue influence on the NRC and there was a subsequent decline in membership which took down the National Recycling Coalition. If NCRA permits higher level sponsorships the organization would be compromised. Motion is then voted with 5 ayes (Knapp, VanDeventer, Yee, Boone, and Moore), none voting no, with four abstentions: Brooms, Tom Wright, Kruger, and Russell. The matter will be considered at the board meeting after the annual meeting on January 21st.

Item 5: Endorse Transfer Station Rebuild in Berkeley. Mary Lou VanDeventer, presenting. Van Deventer requested that the NCRA board write to Berkeley City Council to fund the rebuilding of the transfer station. ESA in 2005 recommended a complete rebuild of the area for maximizing recovery. Urban Ore made a redesign that would allow for rebuilding while the current transfer station is in operation. Kriss Worthington wants to put in the rebuilding of the transfer station in the city’s 2016 “wish list”(the matter needs to be prioritized financially by City of Berkeley before funding issues can be explored). Knapp noted that El Cerrito is drawing people away from Berkeley with its elaborate drop-off; Berkeley needs to re-capture the market. Moore suggested that he, as a boardmember, collaborate with Van Deventer and Knapp to draft this letter and then circulate as per board policy. Mary Lou accepted this plan..
Announcements: Krueger would like us to consider a position on the single use bag ban referendum at our next ZWAC meeting. Wright also circulated a letter signed by many “green” California non-profits and LPAs (but not NCRA) calling on the legislature to fully spend the $1.7 billion sitting in the cap-and-trade fund; no discussion.

Adjourned at 8:09 p.m.

Next meeting should be on February 8th; location TBD.
Respectfully submitted,
Herman Yee (with Arthur R. Boone), Acting Secretary