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Waste Not
CA Plastic Bag Ban Spurs Hiring Boom For Reusable Bag Manufacturer

California’s recent ban on single-use plastic bags has, as one might expect, led to a boom for reusable bag manufacturers in the Golden State. One manufacturer, Earthwise Bag Company, says it increased the number of U.S. workers employed in the production of its bags by 300 percent in 2014, and has plans for further expansion in 2015 and beyond.

In the past year alone, Earthwise has supplied major retailers such as Whole Foods, Kroger, Stop and Shop Giant-Landover, HEB, REI and large corporate American clients with more than 2 million bags. In its eight years in business, Earthwise has distributed tens of millions of reusable bags, removing hundreds of millions of single-use plastic bags from circulation.

Earthwise produces a line of Cotton and Poly/Cotton Canvas Reusable Shopping Bags that are made from fabric milled in the U.S., are cut, printed and sewn in the United States and can be completely customized. These bags are available in a variety of sizes, from a large Beach Tote, Grocery Bag, Standard Tote, Mini Tote as well as a One-Bottle Wine Bag. The company claims these are ideal bags for major supermarkets regionally or specialized markets, farmer’s markets, local festivals, fairs, specialty boutiques and more.

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the historic statewide ban on plastic bags following one of the fiercest legislative battles of the year. In September, the California State Senate voted 22-15 to approve the ban, Senate Bill 270. The legislation implements a ban on single-use plastic grocery bags while promoting recycling and California manufacturing. It also provides financial incentives to maintain and retrain California employees in affected industries.

Plastic bag manufacturers almost immediately began collecting signatures for a referendum vote to overturn California’s recent ban on single-use plastic shopping bags. They claim the ban will kill jobs, and the 10-cent fee is a scheme to “fleece consumers for billions so grocery store shareholders and their union partners can line their pockets”. If the law’s opponents submit more than 500,000 signatures by January, the ban will not take effect until voters weigh in on the November 2016 ballot.


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