Now what is the big deal over a little blue bag?
What blue bag do I refer to? If you walk your dog, you know that I am referring to: your doggy poop bags. For years the Village Elders have been telling us that our dog’s poo gets washed out to the ocean and through the Back Bay. So we have been scolded to pick up after Fido.
For our convenience, the Village Elders have been providing those little dispensers with the little blue bags to pick up Fido’s poo. Some of you may not know that one of the companies that have been providing for Fido’s conveniences is a homespun company that started on Balboa Island, and now located in Costa Mesa. The Doggie Walk Bags Co. (DWB), according to its website, “is a family-owned-and-operated business.”
Chris Crosson is the owner and president of the company, and he actually grew up on Balboa Island.
Crossen’s company’s products have been cleaning up after Fido, helping to keep the nitrates, E. coli, and other bacteria out of Newport Harbor, since 1988. I would call that environmentally friendly.
So the People’s Republic of Santa Monica (PRSM) is suing DWB because a recent state law, AB 1972, by Assemblyman Desaulnier (D-Martinez) went into effect in 2009. This law forbids plastic container (bag) manufacturers from claiming that something is biodegradable even when they are.
Different bags degrade at different rates and under different circumstances. But until the state figures out the standards, it has banned the use of “biodegradable” altogether. But DWB actually says “biodegradable” on its packaging, and the PRSM is going after them.
Hey, as far as I am concerned, as long as the bags don’t let Fido’s used dinner through the bag into my hand when I pick it up, I am happy.
So DWB is facing fines of $1,000 for the first bag and $2,000 for every bag after that (for rolls of 12 bags that is $25k each). When notified, DWB immediately started putting labels over the “biodegradable” on their packaging that was in stock and for product that had not shipped. They also redesigned their artwork to delete the undesirable words, at considerable expense.
According to news reports, the PRSM is not satisfied and is pursuing the fines – must be another revenue enhancer.
The PRSM is also pursuing DWB’s customers who may have products on the shelves with this offensive word. Petco, in particular, has been targeted, told that these products were illegal and ordered to remove them from shelves in California. Petco shipped them to stores outside California (now that sounds environmentally friendly – let’s ship them twice!).
PRSM is pursuing fines for them, as well.
All of this is without a trial or any judicial determination or a chance to correct. I guess the PRSM doesn’t have any real crimes to pursue. The PRSM has said that they will not even allow the words “Earth Friendly” on the packaging. Who would have thought that picking up dog poo was NOT “earth friendly”?
PRSM is doing a Vladimir Lenin impression in their obsessive crusade to eliminate all plastic bags.
So DWB has enlisted the support of Assemblyman Allan Mansoor. Mansoor would love to repeal the law, but knowing that this was pet legislation for the state at the time, is instead working to clean up some of the unintended consequences of the legislation.
And, as you may have guessed, there are many companies, beyond DWB, that have fallen into this quagmire with vindictive City Attorneys and District Attorneys, like the PRSM’s.
Mansoor is proposing legislation that would provide for warnings before fines, centralize the prosecution of the enforcement in the office of the Attorney General, establish some sort of administrative appeal process, and only hold the manufacturer responsible for the packaging.
Apparently there is some needed cleaning up in Sacramento. Maybe DWB can loan Mansoor some little blue bags.