After San Francisco banned plastic bags in large retail stores last year, Philadelphia drafted legislation to do the same. Plastic bags were choking the city's antiquated sewer system and were an easy target for environmentally concerned citizens and politicians--so they thought.
But while the ban had popular support, industry was prepared to fight tooth-and-nail to preserve its business.
Among those who spoke out against the proposal were the Philadelphia-based petroleum and chemical company Sunoco; the state's food merchants association; bag wholesalers and distributors; the American Chemistry Council, which represents plastic and chemical companies; and the Progressive Bag Alliance, as the plastic bag makers trade group was formerly known.
The proposed ban was withdrawn and replaced with a voluntary program to recycle plastic bags instead. Similar skirmishes are happening all over the country in the war over plastic bags.
Other cities and counties that considered bans on disposable bags but instead approved bag recycling programs include New York City; Austin, Texas; Phoenix; Annapolis, Md.; and Los Angeles County.
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