Chinese Renewable Bag Manufacturer Pushes US Plastic Bag Bans
by Capitol Confidential
October 05, 2012
A Chinese manufacturer of reusable bags has been quietly circulating among environmentalists a sensational infographic smearing plastic bags as an unparalleled eco-burden, lobbying for the ban of American-made single-use sacks.
Factory Direct Promos, a Guangdong Province-based outfit, has produced an infographic that allegedly exposes the environmentally unsound life cycle of a plastic bag.
The cute, if deceptive, pictorial tracks the origins of bags from the "crude oil" beginnings to their ultimate ocean-floor resting place. The infographic, of course, contains visuals of hapless whales, dolphins and sea gulls dying at their hand.
FDP, whose products are in fact not compostable or recyclable, points to the proliferation of bag bans throughout the world as responsible action to eliminate the scourge of the plastic sack.
One city that factors prominently into its worldwide review is San Francisco, which became the first American municipality to outlaw plastic bags in 2007.
What the infographic doesn't tell you: a post-ban survey of the city's litter found its share of plastic waste actually increased after the ban took effect.
Also not mentioned: the recycling rate of plastic bags grew by 25 percent in one year's time, between 2009 and 2010; that same year saw the recycling of more than 900 million pounds of post-consumer plastic bags.
Meanwhile, citizens in San Francisco and Portland, which fell victim to the fad in 2011, are being stricken by diarrhea. The product FDP manufactures was linked earlier this year by health officials in Oregon to "the perfect human pathogen," a nasty strain of norovirus that afflicted wholesale a youth girls soccer team.
Factory Direct makes similarly outrageous claims on its website. There it connects plastic bags to the West Nile Virus. "Plastic bag ban could save lives," one blog post contends.
In truth, nanny state bag bans don't save lives, though bans on norovirus-breeding reusable bags might save a few toilets. Instead, they eliminate American jobs.
The industry directly employs more than 30,000 nationwide, and thousands more have found jobs in the post-consumer recycling of the products. It's not just industry jobs at stake.
A recent economic impact study by the National Center for Policy Analysis of the new Los Angeles County bag ban found that those businesses affected by the measure experienced a ten percent reduction in employment in the year since the ban took place. The report found that, as the result of consumer displacement, every single store within the bag ban area "was forced to terminate some of its staff," while "not a single store outside the ban area dismissed any staff."