Judge rules SF's plastic bag ban is valid


San Francisco Superior Court Judge Teri Jackson today ruled that the ordinance was valid following a lawsuit filed in late February by the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition, which had sought to halt implementation of the law.

The coalition had argued that the city needed to examine the environmental impacts of the legislation, but the judge rejected that reasoning while agreeing to consider staying the ruling pending appeal, according to the city attorney's office.

Stephen Joseph, an attorney for the coalition, said, "We believe we will be successful in appeals court."

Joseph said the decision on whether to stay the ruling will be made in court on Sept. 18.

The ordinance, set to go into effect Oct. 1, will expand a 2007 law banning supermarkets and chain store pharmacies from providing single-use, non-compostable plastic bags.

The ban will extend to all retail establishments next month, then to restaurants in October 2013.

The ordinance also requires the businesses to charge a 10-cent fee for each paper bag they provide, money that the business would keep and use as they see fit.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera today issued a statement lauding the judge's decision.

"San Franciscans deserve the same benefit other jurisdictions enjoy from an effective policy that has been shown to reduce the proliferation of single-use bags," Herrera said.

"This is good policy, on sound legal footing, and it will help move San Francisco toward its ambitious 'zero waste' goals," he said.

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