Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

Plastic bag coalition fights back at San Francisco ban


In 2007, San Francisco was the first city in America to ban those pesky (and ubiquitous) plastic bags. Targeting large supermarkets and chain drugstores, the ban was expanded earlier this year to include a wider range of retailers and impose a 10-cent tax on all outgoing single bags. Plastic bag manufacturers have had enough.

As reported by Courthouse News Service, the Plastic Bag Coalition (made up of big plastic bag producers like Crown Poly) is asking the city of San Francisco to invalidate the entire law banning single-use plastic bags, claiming that it violates the California Environmental Quality Act and the California Retail Food Code, among other complaints.

“A 10-cent fee is, or may be, far too low to act as an effective incentive to promote the use of reusable bags,” argued attorney Steve Joseph in the motion filed last week on behalf of the Save The Plastic Bag Coalition and reported in Huffington Post. “No one will carry a reusable bag with them for unplanned impulse buying. Very few people will carry a reusable bag to Macy’s or other department stores to save a dime.”

According to the Mercury News, area consumers are adjusting to the changes just fine.

"I've been surprised; acceptance has been amazing," explains Mario Alvarado, a supermarket store director in San Jose. “Most people understand the ordinance. If they forget and buy paper bags, they tell us they won't forget the next time. A very few will just ask to have the groceries put back in the basket. We were expecting the worst; most customers say the ban is long overdue.”

With so many great reusable bags on the market, there’s really no reason anyone should be caught without a stylish tote on hand. User’s tip: get two, so one is always stashed on your preferred mode of transportation.