S.F. to ban plastic grocery bags

Rule applies to shopping bags made from petroleum products
Proponent says ban would save 450,000 gallons of oil a year
Board of Supervisors votes yes, mayor likely to sign law

This was spearheaded by Green Party activist Ross Mikarimi, who is also a member of of the S.F. Board of Supervisors. Spread the meme about this great idea whose time has come.

Tip: Green Lisa


  1. Thanks for posting this, Bob. I want to make sure the Green Party gets a wee bit of credit.

    You’ll notice that the Reuters/CNN article does not mention Supervisor Ross Mirkirami is Green Party. Not surprising, since the Board of Sups is a non-partisan office, for starters. We know many of the other reasons as well. If it was New Zealand, Canada or Germany, they probably would have mentioned the Green Party.

    I’m guessing this is probably the biggest legislation ever led by a Green Party official in the U.S.
    Mainly third parties are invisible, until the corporate parties want to blame something on us, like the so-called spoiler Nader.

    My fellow Green Woody Hastings said it pretty well: I want to reclaim for the Green Party many of the issues for which, in many cases, we have been the sole champions, but for which we do not get credit/recognition.

    The best example is global warming. The Green Party has been solid on that all along (along with the little g, greens), but Al Gore, who failed to address it significantly while in the White House for eight years, and who barely mentioned it in the 2000 campaign, but was happy to talk about “clean” coal, has now completely captured the issue with his Inconvenient Truth film. The GP needs to make the effort to re-seize that issue.

  2. Honestly, on an individual level there’s no excuse for not using reusable cloth bags. An organized societal answer would be to distribute such bags to people, and then require the supermarkets to charge for paper bags, kind of like they charge for deposit on bottles.

  3. I can’t help but notice that the deposit on bottles is largely ineffective. It helps the homeless, who collect them for change, but everyone else I know who does anything with them puts them in the recycle bin– foregoing the deposit. Plus I’m continually amazed at how many recyclable plastic products are lying on the side of the road. There’s oil in that plastic– oil we paid good money to Saudi Arabia for!

    Still, we are a nation that pays for convenience. A charge for plastic bags would likely have some effect– but not as much as we would like to think. Until this issue is framed in terms of national security (which it is in so many ways) we will not get the cultural change we need.

    BTW, in my rural locale, canvas bags are neither sold nor used. Most markets don’t even offer a paper bag alternative. As much as possible, I try to forego bags altogether, and we recycle every plastic bag we get. It’s not a perfect solution, but for now, at least the resources aren’t sent to the landfill.

  4. We need to look at packaging in general, and how it can be cut down at the source. Then much less recycling needs to be done.

  5. I was thinking about that very thing today, as I noted how much packaging is NOT recyclable. It reminds me of my first trip to Sri Lanka: when you went to a store and bought ginger cookies, they scooped them out of a bin and wrapped them in newspaper. No more. Now they are packaged in plastic like in the West.

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