THE GREEN PARTY OF CALIFORNIA www.cagreens.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
San Francisco becomes the first city in nation
to ban plastic bags; Green Party supervisor
leads fights to save planet, marine life
SAN FRANCISCO (March 27, 2007) – San Francisco Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi –
one of 50 elected Green Party members in the state – pushed through an
ordinance late Tuesday that would make San Francisco the first city in the
nation to ban the use of all but the most environmentally-sound shopping bags.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 10-1 Tuesday to require the
city's grocery stores and chain pharmacies to use only recyclable paper or
compostable bags, despite stiff resistance from the California Grocers
Association and the plastic industry.
"I have been astounded by the worldwide attention the issue has received.
Hopefully, other cities and states will follow suit," said Mirkarimi,
adding that he believes the decision is part of a "trend of making sure
that a forward-thinking economy is one that understands its relationship
with our environment."
The measure had been delayed after the grocery industry went to the
Legislature to intervene. Now, the law goes into effect for 54 grocery
stores within six months, and a year for large pharmacies with at least
five locations. It benefits consumers in many ways, says Mirkarimi.
The compostable "plastic" bags are stronger, they can be dumped directly
into a compost pile because they are made from starches like corn and
potatoes and they won't pollute the environment, kill marine life or gum up
recycling machines. The cost for compostable bags is about the same as
Plastic bags are a worldwide environmental disaster – and many countries
have already made the leap to rid themselves of the bags, of which as many
as one trillion are used worldwide every year, according to experts. Sea
life, from whales to turtles to sea birds, ingest the bags.
The plastic bags are pervasive. In South Africa, there are two Texas-size
"islands" of plastic bags floating at sea, and Bangladesh banned plastic
when it was discovered millions of the bags blocked drains and led to
massive flooding. In Ireland, a "bag fee" led to a 90 percent reduction in
the use of plastic in three years.