San Francisco Supervisors John Avalos and David Campos are calling for a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags. In an op-ed published in the San Francisco Chronicle, they note that on Oct. 1, single-use plastic bags will be banned at all restaurants in the city, making it the largest city in the United States to completely ban bags.
"As San Franciscans, we care deeply for the environment. Together, we've shown the world that hybrid cars, composting, rooftop solar panels and reusable bags work to solve environmental problems. Soon, our first-in-the-nation plastic-bag ban will cover restaurants, and San Francisco will be the biggest U.S. city completely free of plastic carry-out bags. With Los Angeles' plastic bag ban, a third of Californians will soon be bag free. But until our state legislators follow San Francisco's example, plastic bags from other cities will continue polluting San Francisco Bay."
Single-use plastic grocery bags are used for just minutes, but end up causing permanent pollution problems. They cost local governments millions each year in clean up costs. They are impractical to recycle because they jam up and clog recycling machinery. And once they reach the ocean, they can fool marine life, which think they are jellyfish and ingest them by mistake.
The best way to reduce the disproportionate impact these bags have on the economy and environment is to keep them from entering the environment in the first place.
This week El Cerrito and Los Gatos’ city councils are set to vote on their own single-use plastic bag ordinances. Find out which other California communities have passed plastic bag ordinances and learn how you can take action to help reduce plastic marine pollution.