, - Posted on June 29, 2018

Big Soda Extorts Legislature To Prohibit Charges on Unsustainable Packaging


California “Soda Tax deal” includes preemption of charges or assessments on packaging

Contact: Shilpi Chhotray
Senior Communications Officer, #breakfreefromplastic
shilpi@breakfreefromplastic.org, 703.400.9986 (mobile)

Sacramento, CA - June 28, 2018​ - Today the California Legislature passed, and the Governor
signed, Assembly Bill 1838 which would preempt local governments from levying fees and taxes
on soda and other groceries. As has been widely reported, Coke, Pepsi, and other members of
the American Beverage Association signed this backroom deal with California legislators in
exchange for withdrawing a ballot measure that would make all local taxes require a ⅔ vote.
In addition to prohibiting so called “Soda Taxes,” the legislation would also prohibit any charges
on grocery packaging. Local fees and deposit systems have proven to be a successful tool in
reducing waste, and have been used effectively by local jurisdictions for the past three decades.
Members of the #breakfreefromplastic movement have expressed strong condemnation of this

“Threatening funding for local police, firefighters, parks, roads and public transit to force the
legislature to prohibit residents from having a say on soda taxes or fees on packaging is not
only an underhanded move by Big Soda, but it is also a perversion of our initiative process. The
public has been clear that they want manufacturers to bare the cost of their impacts on our
personal health and the health of our planet, and we urge local governments to stand up to this
corporate bullying and use all the tools in their toolbox to achieve these goals.” - Nick Lapis,
Director of Advocacy for Californians Against Waste

"This bill will obstruct local efforts of groups working hard to deal with the plastic pollution crisis.
This is just one more attempt by big industry to silence community activism - but the tide is
turning on plastic pollution, and this is one issue that we fully expect to win." - Anna Wagner,
Los Angeles-based Senior National Organizer, Greenpeace.

“This bill is an egregious example of big soda exerting undue financial influence to try and
prevent municipalities from protecting the health and well-being of our communities. As a
movement, we plan to support local governments to oppose this going forward –as we believe
strongly in a democratic process that puts people and planet over profits.” - Anna Cummins,
Global Strategy Director for 5 Gyres

“​This beverage industry today has silenced the voice of local communities and pre-empted
them from incorporating health and environmental costs into the cost of their products. This is
shameless and sets a bad precedent. Local communities should not be held hostage to industry
giants, like Coke and Pepsi, in addressing costs to public health and the environment from
products like sugary beverages or plastic packaging.” - Miriam Gordon, Policy Director,

“Taking away the right of local communities to regulate top forms of litter is an affront to
democratic principles and the authority of local government. The everyday citizen loses when
corporations, special interests and state lawmakers interfere in local law-making to protect
communities from litter, pollution and blight.” - Angela T. Howe, Esq., Legal Director,
Surfrider Foundation​

Break Free From Plastic is a global movement envisioning a future free from plastic pollution.
Since its launch in September 2016, over 1,200 groups from across the world have joined the
movement to demand massive reductions in single-use plastics and to push for lasting solutions
to the plastic pollution crisis. These organizations share the common values of environmental
protection and social justice, which guide their work at the community level and represent a
global, unified vision. www.breakfreefromplastic.org.

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