EnvironmentGovernmentNewsOriginalSan Francisco

Supes approve fee increase for single-use plastic bags

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Plastic BagEric/Flickr
A Marin grand jury wants a ban on plastic bags in unincorporated areas and Fairfax extended to all cities in the county. (Eric/Flickr)

The cost for single-use plastic bags offered to San Francisco customers at the checkout stand will rise from 10 cents to 25 cents beginning July 1, 2020.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved legislation to raise the fees in an effort to cut back on plastic pollution and to encourage more customers to bring their own bags while shopping.

Supervisor Vallie Brown, who sponsored the legislation, said:

“We’ve been a leader when it comes to plastic and to zero waste and yet we are still struggling to reduce waste.”

Brown added that The City still generates three tons of waste despite its currents reduction efforts, including a ban on plastic straws that became effective July 1.

“We’re recycling and composting with the best of them, but it’s now clear that we will never achieve our zero waste goals if our consumption and generation continues to grow.”

The Department of Environment reports that since The City enacted the 10-cent charge for checkout bags, about 60 percent of customers began bringing bags from home. The department hopes that percentage increases under the new legislation.

Other cities, such as Santa Cruz, saw 90 percent of customers switch to reusable bags when the city increased its bag fee to 25 cents.

Debbie Raphael, Department of Environment director, said a more thorough study is planned to determine who among City residents bring their own bags and who pays the fee.

Additionally, the legislation bans stores and farmer’s markets from using single-use plastic bags like those seen in produce departments unless bags are made of recyclable or compostable materials.

Brown warned customers that green bags in produce sections can be misleading and are not necessarily compostable.

She added that the public needs to do its part in taking care of The City and the planet. Brown said:

“We only have this one city, one planet, and it’s all on us.”

Jerold Chinn/SFBay Supervisor London Breed holds a plastic bag full of plastic materials, which can now go into the blue recycling bin, during a press conference on Oct. 5, 2017.

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