Business Administration Education Guide

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

San Francisco Bans Plastic Bags

San Francisco's Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to become the first U.S. city to ban plastic bags from large supermarkets to help promote recycling.

Under the legislation, beginning in six months large supermarkets and drugstores will not be allowed to offer plastic bags made from petroleum products.

"I am hopeful that other U.S. cities will also adopt similar legislation," he said. "Why wait for the federal government to enact legislation that gets to the core of this problem when local governments can just step up to the plate?" said Ross Mirkarimi, the city legislator who championed the new law.

Mirkarimi said the ban would save 450,000 gallons of oil a year and remove the need to send 1,400 tons of debris now sent annually to landfills. The new rules would, however, allow recyclable plastic bags, which are not widely used today.

The tree hugger in me is excited but the sensible part of me is wondering if this can really work in San Francisco let alone in any other city. The idea of an entire city relying on canvas and paper bags seems like a huge task. Noble effort, but nevertheless a huge task in convincing consumers to use non plastic bags. There are just too many people who are indifferent regarding the concept of less means more.

Plus, being someone who didn’t have a car for a long time I can already see the arguments of having to carry home less groceries because paper bags are either not strong enough or too bulky to carry more than a couple of bags.

Than again, plastic bags are a large majority of the trash that is thrown about on the streets, in the oceans, on the beaches and filling up city dumps (sorry I don't remember the correct name for these places). Some experts say the bags are one of the biggest sources of pollution in the cities.

But how will this affect both the small and large merchants? Will their profits increase because they no longer need to order plastic bags or will they have to order new non plastic bags to meet the needs of they’re customers?

Craig Noble, a spokesman for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said it would be disappointing if grocers rejected the biodegradable plastic bag option, since more trees would have to be cut down if paper bag use increases.


The 50 grocery stores that would be most affected by the law argued that the ban was not reasonable because plastic bags made of corn byproducts are a relatively new, expensive and untested product.

If the plastic bags are expensive, shouldn’t they welcome the canvas and biodegradable plastic bags? Would it not save them money? By selling canvas bags, the stores could make more money and advertise on they’re canvas grocery bags. So this seems like a weak argument.

A career in

Product Development

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