Plastic Bags

According to Supervisor Mirkarimi, “It is time that we send a message and a vigorous one.” San Francisco is the first city in this hemisphere to implement a ban on plastic bags. San Francisco is the greenest city in North America and we need to catch up or keep pace with what other cities have done. Using the examples of Los Angeles and San Jose, Supervisor Mirkarimi argued, “We are not alone.” In fact, opponents five years ago of this trend-setting legislation were instrumental in drafting this new ordinance. The ten-cent charge is based on other cities and nations that use the same fee metric. Supervisor Mirkarimi was agreeable to nixing the 25-cent charge and extending the implementation date to nine instead of six months. According to Supervisor Mar, he is supportive of the ordinance and San Francisco spends $30 million annually to clean up plastic bags. Moving to continue, Supervisor Kim was not ready to support the ordinance due to the process and lack of outreach. “More time is needed for feedback.” However, Supervisor Mirkarimi argued, “There has been significant outreach,” and greater outreach is built into the bill itself. Supervisor Kim feels that we need to get more feedback, have larger town hall-style dialogue, and that it is backwards to do the outreach after passing the legislation instead of before. Supervisor Wiener applauded the Supervisor Mirkarimi’s amendments. However, Supervisor Weiner believes that outreach to small businesses in the City is extremely hard. “I would rather vote on something after the outreach is done. It won’t change when we actually start this.” Supervisor Farrell supports the intent behind the legislation, but does not agree with how this ordinance gets there and wonders why we are rushing. According to Melanie Nutter of the San Francisco Department of the Environment, extensive outreach was performed. “The list goes on and on.” The fact sheet was printed in English, Spanish, and Chinese. “From our perspective, as soon as this legislation is passed, that is when we hit the ground running.” Extensive community presentations, mailings to merchants, canvas bag distribution, and using social media are just some of the outreach tactics used by the Department of the Environment.

Supervisors Chiu and Chu support the ordinance, but agreed to continue the legislation.