plastic_bags.jpgRemember SF’s plastic bag ban; the one we instituted in 2007, preventing non-biodegradable plastic bags from use in large grocery and drug stores?

You probably already know that Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi wanted to make the ban stricter, even as Assembly Bill 1998, which would’ve instituted a statewide ban, worked its way through our state legislature.

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi refuses to take the news of the aforementioned AB1998 being shot down without unveiling his own form of retaliation, SFWeekly reports.


Mirkarimi’s proposed legislation would currently extend the plastic bag ban to all stores in SF while also levying a five cent fee on any paper bags given out to customers. According to Mirkarimi, Washington D.C also has a five-cent paper bag fee in place, which he also claims is working. But with the failure of a state bag ban, he’s now talking about increasing that nickel-per-bag fee, saying “Other jurisdictions said that’s too low.”

Seeing that many D.C residents were rooting for AB1998, it seems that the plastic bag battle is not yet over.

the author

Always in motion. April Siese writes about music, takes photos at shows, and even helps put them on behind the scenes as a stagehand. She's written everything from hard news to beauty features, as well as fiction and poetry. She most definitely likes pie.

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  • Josh

    It’s a nightmare for the poor. Food Stamps won’t cover this.

  • Josh

    It’s a nightmare for the poor. Food Stamps won’t cover this.

  • DT

    Do what Andronico does:

    Charge 99 cents for a reusable bag and deduct a nickel or dime from the total each time it is used.

  • DT

    Do what Andronico does:

    Charge 99 cents for a reusable bag and deduct a nickel or dime from the total each time it is used.

  • pat94103

    Why a ban? Do paper bags really have that much more benefit than plastic? They kill trees… Why not just add a tax, say, 25 cents that goes to improving the environment so you can choose to use them and pay into a solution as well? I used to count on plastic bags for carrying stuff on a bike, my main transportation, because paper handles rip when you hang them. I just looooved the time I came home with restaurant leftovers in a paper bag inside my back pack and found it swimming in juice. Plastic would have prevented that while the paper disintegrated. I collect every plastic bag I ever get, use them for double duty as trash bags (OK I do it first with paper because throwing them out at all isn’t the best thing) and have a bin full to recycle whenever the pile gets that big. This ban is not very good.

  • pat94103

    Why a ban? Do paper bags really have that much more benefit than plastic? They kill trees… Why not just add a tax, say, 25 cents that goes to improving the environment so you can choose to use them and pay into a solution as well? I used to count on plastic bags for carrying stuff on a bike, my main transportation, because paper handles rip when you hang them. I just looooved the time I came home with restaurant leftovers in a paper bag inside my back pack and found it swimming in juice. Plastic would have prevented that while the paper disintegrated. I collect every plastic bag I ever get, use them for double duty as trash bags (OK I do it first with paper because throwing them out at all isn’t the best thing) and have a bin full to recycle whenever the pile gets that big. This ban is not very good.

  • Eve Batey

    I don’t have a dog in this bag fight, of course, but I’ll note that many folks who are on food stamps have reusable bags (tote, backpack, etc).

    I know that I do, and I’ve seen the same with many of my EBT-brethren. So I do not know about that argument!

  • Eve Batey

    I don’t have a dog in this bag fight, of course, but I’ll note that many folks who are on food stamps have reusable bags (tote, backpack, etc).

    I know that I do, and I’ve seen the same with many of my EBT-brethren. So I do not know about that argument!

  • Starchild

    It would be nice to see a poll option supporting stores giving people discounts for using their own bags, but opposing using government force to ram through a one-size-fits-all solution as Ross Mirkarimi favors.

    As for paper versus plastic, it is by no means clear that the former is more environmentally sound. The SF Weekly had a cover story last year digging into this issue (see http://www.sfweekly.com/2009-01-07/restaurants/baggage/), which concluded that using paper is actually worse for the environment, and that the SF plastic bag ban was therefore counterproductive environmentally as well as economically.

    Whatever the larger truths about paper versus plastic, I can say that in my case not having the plastic option has probably not done the environment any favors. I do much of my grocery shopping at Safeway, Trader Joe’s, and Walgreens, all of which use paper bags whose handles tear off easily.

    Since I generally carry groceries on the handlebars of my bicycle, this means I have to double-bag everything in order to avoid spilling groceries all over the street, when a single plastic bag might have sufficed.

    As for reusable bags, I do have a nice pair from the Libertarian Party of San Francisco which include a humorous message about the plastic bag ban (you can check them out at http://www.cafepress.com/lpsf.2537100, and buy your own for $12.99 if you’re so inclined). However I often don’t plan my grocery shopping in advance, but just hit the store on the way home from somewhere else when I have the time and feel like taking time out to shop, and getting around by bike as I do, it’s more of a burden to remember to bring reusable bags with me than for people who could just keep them in the car.

    So most of the time I just end up using more paper. Unintended consequences of government intervention strike again!
    Posted by Starchild on September 4th 2010, 3:58am

  • Starchild

    It would be nice to see a poll option supporting stores giving people discounts for using their own bags, but opposing using government force to ram through a one-size-fits-all solution as Ross Mirkarimi favors.

    As for paper versus plastic, it is by no means clear that the former is more environmentally sound. The SF Weekly had a cover story last year digging into this issue (see http://www.sfweekly.com/2009-01-07/restaurants/baggage/), which concluded that using paper is actually worse for the environment, and that the SF plastic bag ban was therefore counterproductive environmentally as well as economically.

    Whatever the larger truths about paper versus plastic, I can say that in my case not having the plastic option has probably not done the environment any favors. I do much of my grocery shopping at Safeway, Trader Joe’s, and Walgreens, all of which use paper bags whose handles tear off easily.

    Since I generally carry groceries on the handlebars of my bicycle, this means I have to double-bag everything in order to avoid spilling groceries all over the street, when a single plastic bag might have sufficed.

    As for reusable bags, I do have a nice pair from the Libertarian Party of San Francisco which include a humorous message about the plastic bag ban (you can check them out at http://www.cafepress.com/lpsf.2537100, and buy your own for $12.99 if you’re so inclined). However I often don’t plan my grocery shopping in advance, but just hit the store on the way home from somewhere else when I have the time and feel like taking time out to shop, and getting around by bike as I do, it’s more of a burden to remember to bring reusable bags with me than for people who could just keep them in the car.

    So most of the time I just end up using more paper. Unintended consequences of government intervention strike again!
    Posted by Starchild on September 4th 2010, 3:58am

  • pchas

    A case of 2,000 plastic “T” handled grocery bags costs less than $30.00; http://search.instawares.com/grocery-bags.0.3.0.htm?&s_kwcid=TC-20192-4614203036-e-325275329 which works out to less than two cents per bag. If Mirkarimi’s fee goes through, I’m going back to plastic!

  • pchas

    A case of 2,000 plastic “T” handled grocery bags costs less than $30.00; http://search.instawares.com/grocery-bags.0.3.0.htm?&s_kwcid=TC-20192-4614203036-e-325275329 which works out to less than two cents per bag. If Mirkarimi’s fee goes through, I’m going back to plastic!