San Francisco bans plastic grocery bags

Thursday, March 29, 2007

I was very happy to read this story on the CBC this moring. You may think it's tough to stay away from plastic bags at the grocery store, or any store for that matter, but it just takes a bit of discipline. I buy bags from; have a few canvas bags kicking around; and have received a great gift from my sister-in-law that makes a fashionable statement while shopping. Most of these bags fold up so you can keep them on you all the time.

Read the full article below and say no to plastic! :)

San Francisco bans plastic grocery bags

Wed Mar 28, 10:18 AM

San Francisco has become the first city in North America to ban the use of traditional plastic grocery bags, a step that municipal leaders hope will spread across the country.

Passed Tuesday by the city's board of supervisors, the law prohibits large grocery stores and drugstores from using non-recyclable and non-biodegradable plastic bags made from petroleum products.

Supermarkets will have six months to comply while drugstores will have up to one year.

The city legislator who introduced the bill, Ross Mirkarimi, said that up to 200 million plastic bags are used each year in the city of roughly 740,000 people.

It's estimated a traditional plastic bag takes 1,000 years to dissolve.

"The first order of conservation is reduction and what we want to do is reduce the non-recyclable plastic bag," said Mirkarimi.

"Many [foreign] cities and nations have already implemented very similar legislation. It's astounding that San Francisco would be the first U.S. city to follow suit," he said.

Will reduce carbon dioxide output

Jared Blumenfeld, the head of the city's environment department, said there would be many benefits.

"By getting 100 million bags away from plastic, we'll save 413 million gallons of oil, we'll reduce 9.2 million pounds [4.2 million kilograms] of carbon dioxide," Blumenfeld said.

Blumenfeld said he hopes other cities will follow in San Francisco's footsteps.

"We certainly hope that it will proliferate throughout the United States, certainly at least throughout the state of California," he said.

Canadian town to ban bags

On April 2, the tiny town of Leaf Rapids in northwestern Manitoba is set to become the first Canadian community to ban plastic bags.

The bylaw prevents retailers from selling or distributing the single-use bags. Ignoring the ban could result in a $1,000-per-day fine.

Officials will hand out cloth shopping bags to each of the town's roughly 550 residents before the ban comes into effect on April 2.

The B.C. mountain town of Rossland is also considering a voluntary ban on single-use plastic bags.
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