San Francisco Bans Plastic Bags
By VAUHINI VARA
SAN FRANCISCO—The Golden Gate city is broadening its battle against bags.
San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to make it illegal for any shop in the city to offer disposable plastic bags to customers. The law expands a 2007 bag ban that applied to large grocery stores and pharmacies, and also mandates stores charge customers 10 cents apiece for paper bags.
The legislation, meant to reduce litter and waste-processing costs, requires all retail outlets top stop distributing single-use plastic bags in October. Starting in 2013, the ban will apply to restaurants as well. Reusable bags will remain legal.
“These bags end up as litter on our streets, as trash on our bay [and are] a costly nuisance in our waste processing system,” said Christina Olague, a member of the Board of Supervisors..
The development comes as cities across the country move to minimize the use of disposable bags, both plastic and paper. San Francisco made waves in 2007 by barring big stores from providing plastic bags. In the years since, other cities including Washington, D.C., and San Jose, Calif., enacted even stricter bans.
By expanding the plastic-bag ban to smaller shops and restaurants—and imposing a paper-bag fee—San Francisco will go beyond other big cities.
Local merchants had mixed responses to the decision. At Canyon Market, the main grocery store in Mayor Ed Lee’s neighborhood of Glen Park, co-owner Janet Tarlov pointed out that her shop uses recycled bags that are considered environmentally friendly, but under the ban, even those sacks will be prohibited, leaving her customers with fewer options.
“On balance, I think it’s a bad idea,” she said.
At Church Produce, a tiny fruit-and-vegetable seller in the residential Noe Valley neighborhood, owner George Sepetis welcomed the change and said he planned to pass out about 1,000 reusable bags to help customers get used to the change.
“Probably I’m going to save money and save some plastic from the environment,” he said.
Write to Vauhini Vara at email@example.com
Aug 21 – West Hollywood Adopts Latest Plastic Bag Ban
Yesterday evening, the West Hollywood City Council adopted the latest plastic bag ban…bringing the total number of CA cities and counties that have taken a stand against plastic bag pollution to 52.
According to the LA Times, Mayor Jeffrey Prang said,
“Local governments have been charged, I think rightfully so, to reduce the amount of waste we put in the waste system. [Plastic bags] are costing us money and filling up landfills.”
CAW’s estimate is that plastic bags cost at least $343 million statewide each year in cleanups, nuisance management, and higher grocery prices. This cost can be easily avoided.
Under the West Hollywood ordinance, paper bags made with 40% postconsumer content can be distributed for 10 cents each. The ban goes into effect in six months for large grocery stores, and in one year for all other retail stores.