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 Bag Wars Press Release . . .

13 September 2011


Hilex Poly drops its lawsuit against reusable bag manufacturer

San Francisco, California - 13 September 2011 -- The
Center for Oceanic Awareness, Research, and Education
(COARE), celebrates the decision of three large plastic
bag manufacturers to drop their lawsuit against
ChicoBag, a small reusable bag manufacturer in Chico,

The plastic bag giants, which have also sued
municipalities over bag bans or fees, had initiated the
suit against ChicoBag alleging that the company's "Learn
the Facts" page, (which contains widely accepted 
third party statistics regarding the impact of
single-use plastic bags on the environment) was false
and misleading, and had resulted in 'irreparable harm' 
to their companies.   

Since its inception, COARE has been actively addressing
plastic pollution and attempts to reduce single-use
plastic consumption in the U.S. and worldwide.
Annually, U.S. consumers use 100 billion plastic bags,
all of which are derived from fossil fuels.  In
California alone, consumers use more than 19 billion
plastic grocery and merchandise bags each year.

The lawsuit against ChicoBag 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

ChicoBag Founder and President Andy Keller presented
Hilex Poly with more than 25,000 petition 
signatures collected by COARE, Care2, Surfrider
Foundation, Heal the Bay, and a number of other
grassroots organizations, urging them to drop the case.
In a victory for plastic bag foes and environmentally
conscious consumers, the terms of the settlement will
likely help the public to be better informed about the
real impacts of single-use plastic bags.  

"Consumers need to move away from the single-use and
disposable mentality", said Christopher Chin, COARE's
Executive Director.  "This agreement allows us and our
colleagues to continue to share the truth about
single-use bags."

In a surprising departure from the plastic bag
industry's standard axiom "Bags don't litter, people do", 
Hilex Poly acknowledged the fact that single-use bags
can become windblown litter despite proper disposal.

"Ultimately, I hope this settlement will encourage Hilex
Poly and the rest of the plastic bag industry to refrain
from filing any future frivolous lawsuits, stop
attacking reusable bags, and instead invest their
dollars into reducing unnecessary single-use bag
consumption and litter, while developing solutions to
meet the growing consumer demand for more sustainable
products", said Keller.

As part of the Clean Seas Coalition, COARE has worked
with a number of organizations to support smart
legislation such as AB1998, the Los Angeles County bag
ban, and the San José ban.  Through its "Enough with the
plastic already!" campaign, COARE seeks to reduce the
amount of oceanbound waste by helping people become more
aware of how their habits affect the world around them.
COARE raises public awareness of some very commonly
overlooked sources of trash, and encourages people
everywhere to examine their choices.

The Center for Oceanic Awareness, Research, and
Education, Inc. (COARE) is a tax-exempt nonprofit
organization based in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Its
purpose is to study our oceans and increase public
awareness of the earth's marine environment through
educational programs and outreach.  COARE seeks to
enlighten people, young and old, to the plight of the
oceans, to change the way they think and act, and to
encourage them to create positive and lasting change.
For more information about COARE, visit

COARE and Enough With the Plastic Already are
trademarks of The Center for Oceanic Awareness,
Research, and Education, Inc.  All other company names
or marks mentioned herein are those of their respective

Media Contact:
Jennifer Bowyer, media@coare.org, +1-510-495-7875


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