San Francisco was the first city in the nation to ban the use of plastic bags in grocery stores and pharmacies back in 2007. Since then many other cities followed suit, and others have raised the bar by charging for consumers using single-use plastic bags and having a ban apply to all retailers.
But now San Francisco is poised to expand the ban to retailers by July 2012 and all restaurants by July 2013.
The legislation, introduced by Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, was approved by the Board of Supervisors City Operations and Neighborhood Services Committee and sent to the full board for a vote next week with a recommendation to approve it. The ban expansion is expected to be approved.
The legislation would also impose a 10 cent charge on the use of bags provided to consumers, which would increase to 25 cents in July 2014. The businesses would keep any revenue collected from the bag charges.
The legislation does not apply to such bags as doggie bags, dry cleaner bags or newspaper bags.
Mirkarimi’s legislative aide Robert Selna said research has shown charging for bags “dramatically” reduces use.
Bags permitted are compostable paper bags with 100 percent paper content and reusable bags manufactured for125 uses and 100 washes.
Plastic bags are blamed for litter, clogging up The City’s recycling machines and their production is harmful to the environment.