Believe it or not, there's been a war going on over plastic bags for some time now. It seems that manufacturers of those reusable bags you see near the checkout line were none too pleased that so many people were continuing to choose plastic or paper bags as opposed to shelling out $20 bucks for their environmental solution.
So the reusable bag company known as ChicoBag did what any good environmental alarmist would do: they lied.
For instance, they claimed that "a reusable bag needs only to be used eleven times to have a lower environmental impact than using eleven disposable bags." They were close. It was actually 393 times or roughly 7.5 years to replace reusing a plastic bag just three times.
But, as always seems to be the case with wild claims of healing mother earth, their exaggerations weren't just limited to their alleged comparability to plastic bags.
This company even went so far as to hide the fact that reusable bags can actually have negative health effects since, unlike the evil plastic bags, reusable bags can become covered in bacteria.
They even created a bogus government website to push their agenda:
ChicoBag created a counterfeit EPA website and knowingly shared falsified NOAA data with school children.
Finally, plastic bag manufacturer Hilex Poly had had enough and they sued. Better yet they won and the victory has forced the reusable bag manufacturer to admit that they had been engaging in false advertising.
A victory to be sure, but the battle is not over. Via the NY Times:
The case, filed in U.S. District Court of the District of South Carolina, comes as the plastic bag industry battles those pushing only reusable bags, said Sean Hecht, executive director of UCLA's Environmental Law Center. In California, multiple cities and counties have banned the use of plastic bags by merchants
So not surprisingly, California is one of the first to actually start making laws based on this bogus science. If you think it will stop at their borders, think again. Not only can a state as large as California have influence over the ideas of other states, the size of their market can force nationwide companies to make company-wide changes just to comply with the desires of California.
Far from total victory, this win is merely a step in helping prevent the wannabe do-gooders in government from favoring one industry over another in the name of pseudo-science.
Plastic bag makers want to stop any additional curbs on the bags, Hecht said, and part of that is winning support from consumers. The case originally involved two other large bag manufacturers, Superbag Operating Ltd. and Advance Polybag Inc.; both have withdrawn from the case. Those companies last week hailed the settlement secured by Hilex Poly.
In order to prevent that worst case, we conservatives will have to add this to your list of things that, like it or not, we're going to have to be vocal about. The government is looking for ways to control every decision we make, from light bulbs, to power providers,to guitars, to cars, and now to our grocery bags.
This lawsuit is a step in the right direction, but as we've seen, no amount of factual data or real science will deter the environmental whackos. As a result, companies like ChicoBag will reveal themselves as the new war profiteers in this battle for personal choices.
Also, don't ever buy a ChicoBag.