SF has always taken pride in its sophisticated stance on the environment even boasting a recycling rate of over 70%.  And, while we often have a spot amongst the leaders of the pack, we are not Malibu, yet.  Malibu, following SF’s lead, banned ALL single use plastic bags years ago, in 2008.  No grocery stores, small shops, or even restaurants can distribute the putrid poison that is the single use plastic bag.  How cool are they?  Don’t we want to be just like them?
Well, this Fall, back-to-school takes on a whole new agenda.  San Fran’s expanded plastic bag ban, passed earlier this year, goes into full effect this October.  That means no more plastic bags at your mini-mart or small produce stand.  No more free bag offers from Walgreens or the Hardware store.  It’s time to get  that cute re-usable sack and make a thing out of it.  Think of it as your yoga mat…
And not a minute too soon.  While LA already has a ban, no date has been set for it to go into effect.  Berkeley (surprise, surprise) is already in full swing on this effort and other bag banners around the world include Australia’s Oyster Bay, Mexico City, Delhi, India, the entire country of Rwanda (cleanest in the world), and locally there is Portland, coastal North Carolina, San Jose, Long Beach, and just yesterday, West Hollywood.
Below find a photo essay introducing our reusable bags as well as recent articles on SF’s bag ban this year and the breaking news on West Hollywood that banned plastic bags just hours ago.

San Francisco Bans Plastic Bags


SAN FRANCISCO—The Golden Gate city is broadening its battle against bags.

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to make it illegal for any shop in the city to offer disposable plastic bags to customers. The law expands a 2007 bag ban that applied to large grocery stores and pharmacies, and also mandates stores charge customers 10 cents apiece for paper bags.

The legislation, meant to reduce litter and waste-processing costs, requires all retail outlets top stop distributing single-use plastic bags in October. Starting in 2013, the ban will apply to restaurants as well. Reusable bags will remain legal.

“These bags end up as litter on our streets, as trash on our bay [and are] a costly nuisance in our waste processing system,” said Christina Olague, a member of the Board of Supervisors..

The development comes as cities across the country move to minimize the use of disposable bags, both plastic and paper. San Francisco made waves in 2007 by barring big stores from providing plastic bags. In the years since, other cities including Washington, D.C., and San Jose, Calif., enacted even stricter bans.

By expanding the plastic-bag ban to smaller shops and restaurants—and imposing a paper-bag fee—San Francisco will go beyond other big cities.

Local merchants had mixed responses to the decision. At Canyon Market, the main grocery store in Mayor Ed Lee’s neighborhood of Glen Park, co-owner Janet Tarlov pointed out that her shop uses recycled bags that are considered environmentally friendly, but under the ban, even those sacks will be prohibited, leaving her customers with fewer options.

“On balance, I think it’s a bad idea,” she said.

At Church Produce, a tiny fruit-and-vegetable seller in the residential Noe Valley neighborhood, owner George Sepetis welcomed the change and said he planned to pass out about 1,000 reusable bags to help customers get used to the change.

“Probably I’m going to save money and save some plastic from the environment,” he said.

Write to Vauhini Vara at

Aug 21 – West Hollywood Adopts Latest Plastic Bag Ban

Submitted by Recycling News on August 21, 2012 – 13:16.

Yesterday evening, the West Hollywood City Council adopted the latest plastic bag ban…bringing the total number of CA cities and counties that have taken a stand against plastic bag pollution to 52.

According to the LA Times, Mayor Jeffrey Prang said,

“Local governments have been charged, I think rightfully so, to reduce the amount of waste we put in the waste system. [Plastic bags] are costing us money and filling up landfills.”

CAW’s estimate is that plastic bags cost at least $343 million statewide each year in cleanups, nuisance management, and higher grocery prices. This cost can be easily avoided.

Under the West Hollywood ordinance, paper bags made with 40% postconsumer content can be distributed for 10 cents each. The ban goes into effect in six months for large grocery stores, and in one year for all other retail stores.