Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Plastic Grocery Bags

Relatives from out-of-state have been asking me about the ban on plastic grocery bags in San Francisco, so here's a little background info on what prompted the ban.

I think one of the biggest things worth noting is that even returning the plastic bags to the grocery store doesn't result in the material ultimately being recycled. Rather, the store just sells them to companies that make Trex, a wood/plastic composite, lumber-like material, which is itself not recyclable.

It's still not completely obvious to me that the bag ban is a net gain for the environment or society generally - I think that depends on what takes the place of polyethylene bags - but the thinking of the city of San Francisco seems pretty clear.

1 comment:

Rebecca C. Brown said...

Instead of rewarding customers with 5 measly cents for providing their own shopping bags, they should punish customers who don't bring their own bags by making them buy their disposable shopping bags for like 50 cents each. That's how it's done in Germany. No one who speaks German could be bad.

I have mixed emotions about the SF plastic shopping bag ban, but ultimately I think it's a good thing. It sets a good tone and gets people to think more carefully about the environmental impact of their day-to-day habits. Plus, on a more practical note, it cuts down the number of petroleum-based bags being produced; woo hoo.