Spectrum Logo

Headquarters:  12850 Midway Place

Cerritos, CA 90703

PH:  800.456.6935   Fax:  562.623.2558 

Home      |      About us      |      Contact      |      Site Map                   

Product Overview
Restaurant & Foodservice
Supermarkets & Drugstores
Retail Packaging
Institutional & Janitorial
Racks & Dispensing
Reusable Bags & EcoTote
Contact Us
Technical Film
Sample Request
Quote Request



Environmental Considerations

Bag Laws Regulations

Some plastic manufacturing facts:

  • When delivering the bags, the quantity of plastic bags in one truckload would require seven truckloads of paper bags.

  • In the manufacturing process, plastic bags generate 80 percent less waste than paper bags, and only consume about 18 percent as much energy.

  • Plastic bags use less than 3 percent of the fresh water necessary to make paper bags.

  • It takes about 91 percent less energy to recycle a plastic bag as it does a paper bag.

  • Plastic is one of the most energy-efficient bag materials produced today.
  • Plastic shopping bags are made from natural gas, NOT oil.

  • Plastic bags represent less than .5% of litter and less than 1% of landfill.

  • Today’s plastic shopping bags use 75% less resin than they did 20 years ago and 63% less energy in their manufacture, while maintaining the same strength and durability.

  • Plastic bags require 5 times less water, emit 3 times fewer acid gases, and generate 3 times fewer greenhouse emissions than paper bags.

  • It takes 7 trucks to haul 2 million paper bags, and only 1 truck to haul 2 million plastic bags.

  • It is a common misconception that plastic bags are toxic. In fact, there are no existing studies or mainstream reports that deem them as such.

  • Plastic bags are mistakenly included among plastic products such as discarded netting and lines from fishing vessels in contributing to marine life deaths.

  • Bags will not degrade in landfill and therefore will not cause contamination of ground water or hazardous air emissions.

Reusable Bags and EcoTote™

Let Spectrum develop packaging for you that will last a lifetime.

OxoBiodegradable™  Plastics

Learn about biodegradability and how Spectrum offers recyclable products that are environmentally friendly and environmentally responsible.

BioStar™ Can Liners

Spectrum's line of degradable can liners are a great addition to our environmentally friendly offerings.


Less space; less packaging materials; less freight; less gasoline to get it to you. Let Spectrum Bags show you how Comvac™ packaging can make your products more environmentally friendly.


To learn more about recycling plastic, and what Spectrum is doing, click on this link.

Recycling Bins

Click on Recycling Bins to find out more about recycling bin programs - both stock and customizable options.

Myths About Grocery Bags

Top 10 list that will set the record straight.


Articles and information on plastic bags.

Laws & Regulations

List of city, state, federal, and global laws, regulations, bans, and taxes.

California laws regarding plastic bags

Recycling Law

California’s recycling law requires that certain retailers provide for and encourage recycling of plastic bags. Although on its face the law is targeted at large drug stores and supermarkets, the applicable definitions are broad and somewhat ambiguous. The definition of “supermarket” may encompass retailers beyond traditional grocery stores, if they operate stores that are more than 10,000 square feet or that gross more than $2 million per year.

Affected retailers must take the following steps:
  • Print the words "Please Return to a Participating Store for Recycling" on all plastic carry-out bags provided by the store
  • Establish a clearly marked bin for collecting plastic bags, placed in a visible and easily accessible location
  • Recycle the plastic bags they collect and maintain records regarding the volume of bags recycled
  • Offer reusable bags for purchase, prominently located near the front of the store
In addition to the benefit of environmentally friendly business practices, compliance with the law provides another important advantage. Retailers that comply with the state law are exempt from local fees and recycling requirements. This can have practical value for retailers with multiple locations, such as avoiding the extra costs and trouble of tracking and following local rules.

Plastic Bag Bans

Although retailers complying with the recycling law may be exempt from local recycling rules or plastic bag fees, they may still be subject to bans on plastic bags enacted by several coastal cities in California. For instance, Fairfax, Malibu, Palo Alto, San Francisco, and Solana Beach all have ordinances prohibiting or restricting distribution of plastic bags. The cities of Encinitas, Los Angeles, and San Jose have passed similar laws that will go into effect over the next two years.

Practical Advice

The regulation of plastic bag use in California is a rapidly changing area, with ongoing developments likely on the state and local levels. Retailers operating in California should consider whether California’s recycling law applies to them and review their compliance with the law. Retailers who believe that the recycling law may not affect them may consider voluntary compliance in order to obtain the benefits of exemption from local fees and recycling requirements. Retailers should also be aware of bans on the distribution of plastic bags, applicable in a growing number of cities, particularly as additional restrictions take effect over the next few years.

Recycling TipsCustomer Service and Support:
For more information, please contact us:

Spectrum Bags, Inc.

12850 Midway Place, Cerritos, CA  90703

PH:  800.456.6935 / 562.623.2555    FAX: 562.623.2558

E-mail:  sales@spectrumbags.com

Copyright 2008 © Spectrum Bags, Inc.   All rights reserved.

Spectrum Bags is an affiliate of IPS Industries, Incorporated.
Privacy Policy