Nine Months into the Voluntary Ban on Plastic Bags

Until now only a few local businesses were charging customers for paper and plastic bags. In a few months all businesses will have to implement a ban on plastic bags, which is still a voluntary choice inSouth San Francisco.

San Francisco’s voluntary ban

It’s been nine months since San Franciscoimposed a voluntary ban on plastic bags for all large businesses. Up until now several businesses have not adopted the ban, but this October may witness the ban becoming mandatory.

The voluntary ban aims to encourage local businesses to cut down the number of plastic bags they use and even charge customers who want to use these bags.

Will the mandatory ban replace plastic bags with seed paper and reusable bags?

Karyl Matsumoto, a council member said the voluntary ban was introduced in order to ease businesses and consumers into the situation. She added that there has been no significant reduction in the use of plastic and paper bags. A number of large retail store chains still give out single use paper and plastic bags for free.

When the ban was implemented last fall, council members were hoping it will become mandatory by spring. Officials of San Mateo County asked the city to wait for a country wide ban.

In case the county puts forward a satisfactory ordinance this October, the ban will be adopted by South City council. But in case no ordinance is ready the officials of South San Francisco will take control of the situation. Matsumoto stated that the council has five votes supporting the ban and no other assumptions should be made

The ban is hoping to replace plastic bags with reusable ones. These are not only more environmentally friendly but also more economical in the long run. A problem that is concerning the council is litigations from plastic bag industry representatives. Matsumoto feels there is no point in going ahead with the ban if they get sued and stated the city staffs are following up legal battles in order to prevent being sued.

In total, twenty four cities in Santa Clara and San Mateoare prepared to favor the county’s ordinance. The environmental impact of the ban is open to public comment and will be closed on the 6th of August. These cities will now join others in the United States that are banning plastic bags.


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