Hanna stands up for plastic bag manufacturing jobs

HARRISBURG, June 27 – State Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Clinton/Centre, today joined a movement to encourage Gov. Wolf not to veto a proposal that would preserve jobs and provide incentives for recycling plastic bags throughout the commonwealth.

Hanna said supporters of the proposal, H.B. 1071, came to the Capitol today to stand up for approximately 1,500 good, family-sustaining manufacturing jobs throughout the state.

“Today I joined employees from Novolex, members of the Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association, Pennsylvania Retailers Association, Pennsylvania Manufacturer’s Association and many others to illustrate that this proposal is not just about plastic bags,” Hanna said. “This bill is about jobs and consumer choice.”

According to Hanna, H.B.1071 only prohibits a tax, ban or surcharge on recyclable plastic bags and only for political subdivisions. Additionally, the bill only impacts policies related to bags that can be recycled and will not get in the way of individual grocers’ bag policies.

“The over-arching goal of this legislation is to protect jobs and encourage Pennsylvania consumers to use and return recyclable plastic bags,” he said. “This will result in less pollution in our landfills and streams.”

Hanna said there are 14 manufacturing facilities located throughout Pennsylvania, including Novolex which operates out of Milesburg, Centre County. 

“If Governor Wolf signs this proposal into law, hundreds of jobs will be preserved right here in Centre County and throughout the state. I was pleased that the legislature could work together to focus on jobs for local residents and encourage the governor to reconsider vetoing the bill.”

Similar legislation over the last decade has resulted in an increase in the rate of plastic bag, film and wrap recycling by 74 percent. In 2015, 1.2 billion pounds of post-consumer film, which includes plastic bags and packaging, was recovered for recycling. Right now, over 90 percent of American consumers have access to plastic bag recycling through retail take-back programs. Plastic bag bans, taxes and surcharges hurt these efforts.

House Bill 1071 passed the House on April 25 with a vote of 102-87 and passed the Senate on June 14 with a vote of 28-21. The proposal was presented to the governor on June 20. Gov. Wolf has until Friday at midnight to make a decision or the bill automatically becomes law.