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Thursday, September 13, 2012

BYOB: S.F. Can Ban Plastic Bags at all Stores, Judge Rules

Posted By on Thu, Sep 13, 2012 at 8:30 AM

Judge refuses to ban the ban
  • Judge refuses to ban the ban

Say what you want to about Ross Mirkarimi as a husband, but the beleaguered pol has won some righteous battles, most recently the city's fight to ban plastic bags.

A San Francisco Superior Court judge has finally ruled that the city can -- and will  -- impose a blanket ban those Earth-unfriendly plastic bags shoppers use to cart their goods from retail stores. In addition to banning plastic bags, San Francisco merchants can also slap shoppers with a 10-cent fee for every paper bag they use.

So starting Oct. 1, here are your shopping options: Pay a dime for the paper bag, or do what any self-respecting S.F. environmentalist would do and bring your own!

Mayor Ed Lee signed the Checkout Bag Ordinance back in February to expand the city's cutting-edge ban on plastic bags to all retailers and food establishments in the city, not just chain stores. Of course, this only got plastic bag crusaders in a crumple, and a group called  "Save the Plastic Bag Coalition" sued San Francisco.

Those plastic bag advocates attempted to put an end to the city's green policy, arguing it "had not properly complied with provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act."  It also claimed that the California Retail Food Code preempts such local ordinances because prohibitions on plastic bags for retail food facilities amount to a "health and sanitation standard." 

The judge rejected those arguments, but agreed to entertain a motion by the plaintiffs to stay the ruling, pending an appeal.

In the meantime, best you start sorting out your closet for empty bags, unless of course you don't mind watching the Earth get nickeled-and-dimed to death. 

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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