San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors voted 10-1 to ban the use of non-biodegradable plastic bags; supermarkets across the city will retrain their employees to ask: paper or biodegradable plastic?
The Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance, written by Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi and Co., sponsored by six other supervisors, gives major supermarket chains with more than $2 million in annual sales six months to make the switch to biodegradable bags. Pharmacies and retailers with at least five locations have one year. Violators face fines of up to $500.
Supermarkets have let economics guide their choice between paper and plastic. Paper bags cost four cents, while plastic bags cost a penny. The largest San Francisco supermarket hands out 125 million plastic bags each year.
If you don’t live in San Francisco and want to do your part, don’t throw your bags away. Most stores even offer a negligible discount to consumers who reuse their bags. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER