Chico, CA—Three large plastic bag makers are suing ChicoBag Company, claiming that the eco-friendly company has caused irreparable harm to their businesses.

Hilex Poly Company, LLC, Superbag Operating, LTD., and Advance Polybag, Inc. have an issue with ChicoBag’s Learn The Facts page on its Web site. Here, the firm cites facts from the Environment Protection Agency and other reputable sources about the effects of plastic bags on the environment. For instance, the group cites facts such as “only one percent of plastic bags are recycled.” This and other similar statements, the plaintiffs believe, are false advertising and unfair competition.

ChicoBag, however, disagrees. “I believe it is simply a way for the industry to squash the competition and scare all of us into silence,” said Andy Keller, ChicoBag inventor and president.

According to the firm, the lawsuit was filed in South Carolina, which doesn’t have anti-SLAPP laws. Such lawsuits are “intended to censor, intimidate and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition,” says ChicoBag.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, July 2011 (online 5/31/11)