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Grocery Bag Giant Settles on Recycling Claims

The ChicoBag Company, a reusable bag firm, has announced that the lawsuit filed against it by Hilex Poly Company LLC, Superbag Operating Ltd. and Advance Polybag Inc. – three of the largest domestic manufacturers of disposable plastic bags – has ended.

The suit centered on claims made on ChicoBag’s web site about the environmental impacts of plastic bags. The California company’s “Learn the Facts” page stated, among other things, that only one percent of single-use plastic bags were recycled, a claim disputed by the three major manufacturers and that, according to the lawsuit, caused “irreparable harm” to their businesses.

After the lawsuit was filed, the reusable bag firm demanded the trio back up their claims; according to Chico, Superbag and Advance Polybag provided “little in response” and subsequently dropped out of the case.

Hilex, however, continued with the legal proceedings, claiming newer evidence that showed a 12 percent recycling rate for plastic bags. Chico took umbrage with this figure, saying it referred not only to single-use grocery bags, but also sacks, film and plastic wrap used on pallets.

Both parties have now agreed to settle out of court.

In the settlement agreement both Hilex Poly and ChicoBag have agreed to provisions including providing citations and dates for all facts and statistics on any web page or advertising, excluding labels and hang-tags. The companies did not say whether their agreement included a financial settlement.

Andy Keller, Chico’s founder and president, said he hoped the settlement would encourage the plastic bag industry from filing any more “frivolous lawsuits.”

Hilex said the settlement “ensures that facts are accurate,” and called it “a win for consumers.”

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