California Supreme Court Upholds San Francisco’s Plastic Bag Ban

San Francisco’s ban on the use of plastic bags at checkout stands in retail stores and grocery markets has been left in place by the California Supreme Court.

The court, in a brief order issued Wednesday in San Francisco, unanimously turned down a bid by the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition, a bag manufacturers’ group, for review of a state appeals court ruling that upheld the city law.

The 2012 law, an expansion of an earlier measure, prohibits the utilization of single-use, non-compostable plastic bags at checkout stands and requires stores to charge 10 cents for paper or compostable plastic bags.

A total of 76 counties and cities in California now have plastic bag bans of some kind, according to Californians Against Waste, a conservation group based in Sacramento.

The Los Angeles-based manufacturers’ coalition argued in a lawsuit that San Francisco should have prepared an environmental impact report on the effects of its law and that the measure conflicted with state regulation of retail stores.

A three-judge panel of the state Court of Appeal in San Francisco rejected those arguments in a ruling in December.

Wednesday’s denial of review by the state Supreme Court leaves the appeals court ruling as the final court decision in the case.

The city of San Francisco and environmental groups claim the ban reduces litter, waste, contamination of waterways and harm to wildlife.

The manufacturers contend that paper bags are a greater burden to the environment than plastic bags.

Julia Cheever, Bay City News

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