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GREEN MOMENT: Did You Know: Plastic Bag Manufacturers Sued Reusable Bag Maker ChicoBag For Ruining Their Business?!?

Posted by kristobaldude on January 11, 2014

Dateline: 01/11/14

Here is a win for the good guys. ChicoBag–creator of those collapsible, reusable shopping bags–was sued in 2011 by  the three top US manufacturers of plastic bags. Overall, environmental crusader and founder of ChicoBag, Andy Keller, saw this as a strategic attempt to drive the reusable plastic bag industry out of business. Then the environment polluting plastic bag giants could keep  wallowing in corporate greed and keep polluting the environment with more and more plastic.

The lawsuit was soon settled because the “false advertising” claims that the corporations had made against ChicoBag could not largely be substantiated. Count this as a win for the environment, and for the good guys. Below are some excerpts on this issue. Please click the “source” links to read the original articles and support the truth crusader blogs fighting for environmental justice and bringing you to truth as it happens.

-Kristobaldude

ChicoBag - BabMonster reusable bagChico, California. – The ChicoBag Company, a reusable bag company, has announced it is the sole defendant in a lawsuit filed by Hilex Poly Company, LLC, Superbag Operating, LTD., and Advance Polybag, Inc.; three of the largest domestic manufacturers of disposable single-use plastic bags, on the grounds that ChicoBag has “irreparably harmed” their business.

Keller is a leader in the movement to reduce single-use bag waste and is well known for his “Bag Monster®” character and environmentally themed blog, bagmonster.com. Each Bag Monster costume is decked out with 500 plastic bags, a walking ball of bags representing the average number of single-use bags an American uses annually. “The Bag Monster makes people laugh and realize how many bags they use. Most people are shocked by the Bag Monster and quickly realize they can use significantly less” says Keller. While the Bag Monster is not specifically mentioned in the lawsuit, its success may have made Keller a target of the industry.

The lawsuit against Keller’s company was filed in South Carolina, a state that has no anti-SLAPP laws. A SLAPP suit (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) is intended to censor, intimidate and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition.

In an effort to understand how this lawsuit fits into the larger strategy of the plastics industry, Keller began investigating the history of industry’s litigation tactics, and uncovered a long and largely untold story of conflict between the public and the now ubiquitous plastic bag. In a recent blog post, Keller published his discovery, helping to put this most recent lawsuit into context.

In response to the industry tactics, Keller stated: “Plastic bag manufacturers and their ‘non-profit’ associations, along with their trade association, the American Chemistry Council, have spent millions of dollars trying to persuade voters and elected officials to vote against single-use bag legislation. They have even funded and promoted ‘scientific’ studiesquestioning the safety and efficacy of reusable bags, fueling sensational news stories across the country, presumably aimed to slow the growth of the reusable bag industry. Sadly, this lawsuit will cost millions and is a complete waste of money. If the plastics industry spent a fraction of the money they have spent on lawyers and lobbyists, actually addressing the legitimate environmental issues, perhaps they wouldn’t have to rely on desperate attacks on small business.”

[Source: Bag Wars | Plastic Bag Giants Sue Reusable Bag Entrepreneur for Loss of Sales (Environmental Community Outraged)

ChicoBag]

TreeHugger.com logoOn the legal side, they’ve sued cities that have banned plastic bags like Oakland, CA, Fairfield, CA, and San Jose, CA, arguing that the decisions were taken without proper environmental impact studies and asking for bans to be taken down.

Unsatisfied with these practices, this business group seems to be taking the next step: filing suits against entrepreneurs that are standing up against single-use plastics. Such is the case of a recent lawsuit that three major plastic bag producers have filed against ChicoBag Company, a pioneering company in the reusable bag movement.

The names in question are Hilex Poly Company, Superbag Operating and Advance Polybag, who are claiming that ChicoBag has infringed in ‘False and Misleading Advertisement’, ‘Violation Of The Latham Act’, and ‘Violation of The Unfair Trade Practices Act‘ for some information included on its website.

[Source: Plastic Bag Companies Now Suing Entrepreneurs: The ChicoBag Case

Paula Alvarado, April 12, 2011]

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