City Hall Watch: Plastic bag ban may apply to newspapers

After banning plastic bags from large grocery stores and drug stores, The City is now proposing to force the newspaper industry to stop using plastic covers protecting publications from the elements.

Newspapers would have to come in compostable or recyclable bags under a law introduced Tuesday by Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, which builds on his groundbreaking legislation.

Prior to the ban, city officials estimated that 180 million plastic bags are used annually, and blamed them for littering the streets, clogging storm drains, harming wildlife and jamming recycling machines.

“I want to take this [ban] a bit further,” Mirkarimi said Tuesday.

The proposed law, co-sponsored by Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin, would make it illegal for anyone to distribute handbills, newspapers or other print publications whether solicited or not, in a bag that is not compostable or recyclable. Penalties could reach as high as $500 per violation.

Thelaw takes aim at newspapers currently being delivered in polyethylene bangs, which Mirkarimi said, includes such publications as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and The Examiner.

It is unclear how much more the compostable or recyclable bags would cost newspapers. City officials said that a plastic grocery bag costs about one or two cents, while a compostable bag about eight cents or more, and suspected a similar cost-ratio would apply to newspaper bags.

Mirkarimi could not say what the cost impact would be. “The bio-bag industry is booming but I can’t speak for the procurement policies of each newspaper,” Mirkarimi said.

In November, San Francisco became the first major city in the country to ban grocery stores from using plastic bags. The ban extended to The City’s chain drug stores, such as Walgreens and Rite Aid, on May 20.

The proposed law would require a vote by the full Board of Supervisors.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsGovernment & PoliticsLocalPolitics

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Police release an image a cracked windshield on a Prius that Cesar Vargas allegedly tried to carjack. Vargas, who was shot by police a short time later, can be seen in videos jumping on the windshield and pushing a Muni passenger who disembarked from a bus. (Courtesy SFPD
SFPD releases videos of deadly police shooting

Cesar Vargas killed after reports of carjacking with knife

New legislation would make sure supportive housing tenants don’t pay more than 30 percent of their income for rent.. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner))
Supportive housing tenants could get more help paying the rent

Supportive housing tenants struggling to pay rent could soon see their payments… Continue reading

Organizers of the San Francisco International Arts Festival had planned to use parts of Fort Mason including the Parade Ground, Eucalyptus Grove and Black Point Battery to host performances by about a dozen Bay Area arts groups. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Arts festival sues city over permit denial

Organizer says outdoor performances should be treated like demonstrations, religious gatherings

An oversight body for San Francisco’s mental health programs may be restructured after questions were raised about its management and lack of effectiveness. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Behavioral health oversight body looks for new start — and staff — after mismanagement

Members of an oversight body for San Francisco’s behavioral health programs said… Continue reading

The City requires the recycling or reuse of debris material removed from a construction project site. <ins>(Emma Chiang/Special to S.F. Examiner)</ins>
<ins></ins>
Permits proposed for haulers of construction debris to achieve zero-waste

San Francisco plans to tighten regulations on the disposal of construction and… Continue reading

Most Read