Reusable Tray Loss and Prevention Bill Takes Effect in Texas

Austin, TX – After months of work by the American Bakers Association State Affairs Working Group, the passage of the Tray Loss and Prevention Law in Texas was signed into law earlier this year by Governor Greg Abbott. It took effect in September.

“The baking industry’s concern is the epidemic of organized theft of plastic bakery containers,” said Kelly Knowles, Vice President of State and Political Affairs, American Bakers Association. “Our members have seen the problem grow every year, resulting in excess of 25 million dollars of lost equipment and countless operational disruptions over the past five years in Texas alone.

Bakers Basco theft prevention

File photo: Bakers Basco has increased its use of electronic tracking to aid its theft prevention efforts in the UK. Photo credit: Bakers Basco

“This is a big win for the baking industry in the state of Texas,” Knowles added. “ABA is grateful to Rep. Cole Hefner (R-TX-5) and Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-TX-1) for their outstanding leadership to get this important legislation passed through the Texas Legislature and on to Gov. Abbott’s desk.”

“The theft of these trays is of substantial importance to the baking industry and other food industries,” said American Bakers Association State Affairs Working Group Chair, Craig Pizer of Bimbo Bakeries USA. “The final signature on this legislation provides law enforcement with the seamless legal framework to deter and prosecute this pervasive and serious criminal activity – for both the health of the Texas economy and the health of the environment.”

Related: Bakers Basco increases GPS tracking devices in bakery equipment by 300%

“The law incentivizes law enforcement and dis-incentivizes criminals from carrying out tray thefts,” said Robb MacKie, President & CEO, American Bakers Association. “The law discourages tray theft by applying criminal penalties and supporting civil recovery by prosecutors for registered returnable containers, including theft of and damage to such containers.”

The legislation builds upon the Texas Retailers Association’s Stop Theft of Plastics Products (STOPP) Initiative, an initiative that has had success, although not complete, in combating tray theft. In 2013, the ABA lead similar successful reform efforts in the Maryland Legislature.

Although the problem is statewide, the biggest offenders worked around Houston, where the big recycling companies are, Justin Williamson, a spokesman for the Texas Retailers Association, told the Dallas News in July. “We know they use the [Houston Ship Channel] to export the pellets.”