Lawsuit Challenges San Fran Plastic Bag Ordinance

In February, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors voted to expand a bag ordinance passed in 2007 that would ban supermarkets and chain store pharmacies from providing single-use, non-compostable plastic bags to their customers. That ordinance is now being challenged in court on the grounds that the city failed to follow the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act and did not complete an environmental impact report prior to passing the ordinance.The changes approved last month now extend the ban to all retailers starting this October and all restaurants in 2013. Additionally, the ordinance includes a 10-cent fee for each paper bag used that would be kept by individual business to be used as they please, with the ultimate goal being to lower the cost of compost-friendly plastic bags by increasing demand while encouraging consumers to bring their own reusable shopping bags.The ordinance, originally passed to reduce the number of plastic bags used annually in San Francisco (a number estimated at 350 million bags in 2011), is being challenged in court after the Save The Plastic Bag Coalition filed a lawsuit arguing that the city must complete a environmental impact report (EIR) as well as follow the requirements set in place by the California Environmental Quality Act.The lawsuit states that, “Paper and compostable bags are significantly worse for the environment than plastic bags,” and claims that the anti-plastic bag campaign is “largely based on myths misinformation and exaggerations.”

The coalition argues the EIR is necessary after a similar report in Los Angeles County found that charging a nominal fee for issuing paper bags would likely fail to offset environment impacts associated with their increased use, as well as because it says the city was not exempt from the CEQA requirements.

According to the lawsuit, “Very few people will carry a reusable bag to Macy’s or other department stores to save a dime,” and, “Very few people will carry a large reusable bag to purchase…a snack from Union Square or Chinatown.”

If you have any questions about this ban or any other bag legislation around the country, feel free to call us at 1-888-429-5673. Our bag specialists are qualified to explain how this ban affects you, and help you find bags that are in compliance with your local legislation.

Sources: CBS San Francisco.

For full story, visit http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2012/03/02/lawsuit-to-challenge-san-francisco-plastic-bag-ban/