San Francisco approves first-in-nation ban on plastic bags

San Francisco is the first U.S. city to pass a ban on non-recyclable plastic bags at major supermarkets and drugstores. Once it’s signed into law, the stores will have six months to a year to sack the sacks, switching to compostable, recyclable ones made from corn or potato starch — or reverting to recyclable paper. “We can take steps to make our economy a little more soulful,” said lawmaker and ban author Ross Mirkarimi. “Hopefully, other cities and other states will follow suit.” Similar bans are in place in South Africa, Taiwan, Bangladesh, and Paris. Noting that his city’s businesses hand out 180 million plastic bags a year, Mirkarimi asked, “Why did we have to obligate [stores] to do this? Why didn’t they do it voluntarily? It’s like waiting for the auto manufacturers to increase gas efficiency.” The California Grocers Association raised some half-hearted concerns — it’ll cost more! it’ll confuse shoppers! compostable bags suck! — but all we hear is that Charlie Brown teacher voice.