Bag Bans Expand Across U.S., Other Countries
Plastic bags saw headline space on newspapers across the country this week, as multiple cities passed, enforced or expanded bans on the disposable products. The bag bans, which first garnered attention with a 2007 ruling in California, can now be found in towns on both coasts, as well as internationally.
San Francisco, one of the first cities to pass a bag law and the source of the 2007 ruling, began enforcement on expanded regulations Monday. Originally limited to grocery stores and pharmacies, the city now prevents the use of disposable plastic bags in all retail stores. A similar ban also began enforcement that same day in San Luis Obispo County, Ca., and Santa Cruz, Ca. voted 4-1 to expand its bag ban last week.
In addition to restricting plastic bags, stores in the California cities are now required to charge 10 cents for every paper bag they give out. The ban will grow to cover restaurants in October 2013.
Also on Monday, the city of Barrington, R.I. became the first in the state to approve a ban on disposable bags in stores and restaurants. The town council voted 4-1 in favor of the ban, which will go into effect on January 1, 2013. Retailers will be required to charge 5 cents for paper bags, and the ban does not affect produce, bakery or deli plastic bags.
On Tuesday, the city of Boulder, Colo., took a step toward limiting the use of plastic bags within the city limits. The Boulder city council approved a reading and review of a proposed 20-cent fee on all disposable grocery bags. The fee, which will go into effect July 2013 if passed, would allow retailers to keep 4 cents from each fee with the rest going toward education and supplying reusable bags to low-income residents. The city council will review the proposal on Oct. 16.