retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the city’s Board of Supervisors will take under consideration new legislation that would expand the current ban on disposable shopping bags by chain supermarkets and drugstores to all retailers, “including hardware stores, bookshops, clothing boutiques and department stores.”

According to the story, “Since the San Francisco ban went into effect, an estimated 100 million plastic bags a year have been removed from the waste stream, said Mark Westlund, spokesman for the city's Department of the Environment. That means fewer plastic bags hogging up the landfill, clogging storm drains, littering city streets, jamming recycling machines and hurting marine wildlife, proponents say.”

San Francisco Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who proposed the original law, now estimates that “broadening the law would remove tens of millions more bags from the environment.”

And, the Chronicle writes, “Mirkarimi's proposal sets a March 1, 2011, effective date and differs from the state legislation that would ban the use of plastic bags at all food and convenience stores, and prohibit all retailers from handing out free paper bags. The state bill would impose a minimum 5-cent charge on paper bags. The California Grocers Association is not opposed.

“What concerns Mirkarimi about the state legislation is that it could prevent San Francisco and other municipalities from adopting more stringent policies. He said that shouldn't stop San Francisco from moving forward with his proposal, even if that means waging a legal battle with the state.”
KC's View:
If one is going to support this kind of legislation, it seems to me that it is important to insure that it covers all retailers, not just some. If you say that plastic bags are bad for the environment, you cannot just say it is the chain store plastic bags that are harmful.