Stores will need to find another way to say "Thank You," though not handing out things that pollute the planet is a big start. Photo via jonathan.youngblood via Flickr CC
San Jose and San Francisco are two cities in constant battle to one-up the other on sustainability. That is one competition we don't mind sitting back and watching unfurl. From electric cars to waste diversion, the two cities are always working to top one another. Now, the battle moves to bags. San Francisco has worked to ban plastic bags from stores. But now San Jose has decided to look into banning not only plastic, but most paper bags too. The city has voted to move forward on the ban, but it will still require an environmental impact study, and wouldn't go into effect until 2011. That is time enough to get retailers ready for the ban, and consumers as well, who will need to make sure they have reusable bags on hand. Considering that we all have reusable bags coming out our ears these days, that shouldn't be difficult.
The ban would bar retailers from giving customers single-use plastic bags - pretty much the same as what San Francisco has in place - but would go a step further in the paper department. It would allow paper bags made with 40 percent recycled materials, but only for a fee. Restaurants and nonprofits get a bit of a break by being able to continue using either paper or plastic bags.
The Mercury News reports:
David Lewis, executive director of the environmental advocacy group Save The Bay, said San Jose's vote will resonate. On Tuesday, top elected officials from cities in Santa Clara County voiced their support for the ban.
"The plastics industry has fought these efforts tooth and nail, but I would hope they recognize how deep the support is in San Jose and throughout the Bay Area for banning plastic bag pollution," said Lewis.
Not only plastic bag pollution in the bay area, but worldwide. Those plastic bags that don't make it to landfills end up flapping out to sea, resting in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch or on reefs and shorelines elsewhere in the world. They're one of the top three items found littering beaches, along with bottles and cigarette butts.
Single-use plastic bags are an environmental pain in the rear, so it's been inspiring to see cities and countries across the globe begin to ban them. See another city saying that reusable bags are the only appropriate bags to use in stores is a good thing to keep the forward momentum going.
More on Banning Plastic Bags
As U.S. Cities Waver on Plastic Bag Tax, China's Bag Ban Saved 1.6 Million Tons of Oil
Australia Moves Slowly Closer to Complete Plastic Bag Ban
60,000 Plastic Bags are Being Used This Second: Help Slow it Down
Paper Bags or Plastic Bags? Everything You Need to Know