SJ to outlaw plastic supermarket bags in 2012

December 14, 2010 7:05:19 PM PST
On Tuesday afternoon, the San Jose City Council voted to ban plastic bags and to charge for paper beginning in 2012.

About a year from now, plastic bags in San Jose will be gone and the paper ones will come at a price -- 10 cents each, even if it's made of recyclable paper. Then the following year, it will cost more than double in price.

"After that it will cost 25 cents, but only bags made with 40 percent recyclable paper," San Jose Councilmember Kansen Chu said.

The idea is to push consumers to use only reusable bags. The new law will also help cut down on litter and the amount of waste in landfills.

"Then you have fish and wildlife including birds, they choke our wetlands and our habitats. Of course they are a source of visible and unsightly forms of pollution in the bay," David Lewis from Save the Bay said.

But plastic makers say they were unfairly singled out and argued their bags could be reused. Small businesses say the ban will hurt them.

"We've got to charge and the customers will not be pleasant," small business owner Parwinder Dhindsa said.

But in the end, the City Council voted in favor of the ban. While other cities in California banned plastic bags San Jose is the first to impose restrictions on paper as well.

"San Francisco has a ban, Fairfax has a ban, Palo Alto, Malibu also has a ban. There are others I can't recall right now but I know there are 10 cities," Sue Vang from Californians Against Waste said.

While 10 cities in California have a ban, last September lawmakers in Sacramento rejected a bill that would have made the state the first in the nation to do away with plastic bags at grocery and drugstores.

Supporters of that bill hope eventually enough cities here will ban plastic bags, forcing Sacramento to follow.


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