"The intent was never to nickel or dime anybody," mayor Ed Lee said. "But if it takes 10 cents to remind somebody that their habits are in their control, I think that's something we're willing to consider doing."
This is was the mayors response to the press when asked about reasons behind the stricter ban of plastic bags in San Francisco. The proposal calls for extending the city's 2007 ban on plastic bags beyond large grocery stores and chain pharmacies to gift shops, hardware stores, boutiques and all other retailers in October. Also this would effect all restaurants next year in the bay area. Additionally the ban would require businesses to charge a 10 cents for all other bags such as recyclable paper bags, compostable bags etc.
Ultimately the goal is to get shoppers to stop using single-use plastic bags, which pollute the bay and ocean, clog sewers and recycling machines, harm wildlife, and add waste to the landfill. This is the same goal for most city bans in the US. The intent is to help the environment and not to make extra money, although the stores will be able to pocket the dimes if customers cannot break their bad habits.
Although some might think this ban is for every item purchased at these stores, it not. The proposed law includes exemptions from the surcharge and from the ban on plastic for bags used to hold such goods as loose nails, dry cleaning, bulk candy and nuts, fresh flowers, meat and fish. These are items which are understandably need to be contained and separated, and this is not easy without disposable plastic. In addition, there will be a closer look at items too large to necessarily fit in reusable bags such as pillows and large pieces of artwork etc.
This is a huge step in the right direction for San Francisco which was the first city to impose a plastic bag ban in the nation! Something tells us the initial ban was not being taken seriously. Maybe now it will be.
Even the plastic bags agree.
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