Home   Google ARCHIVE SEARCH: Date:

Newsom, Mirkarimi announce public-private partnership
City now recycles two-thirds of waste

Mayor inks agreement between city and participants, from left, Karl Schroeder of Safeway; Nia Crowder, president of the San Francisco Commission on the Environment; Ivy Wan, executive director of the San Francisco Charity Cultural Services; Stacia Levenfeld, public affairs officer for Albertsons; and Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi
Photo(s) by Luke Thomas

By Pat Murphy

November 3, 2005

The city took either a full step or half step toward San Francisco plastic bag use reduction yesterday, with history yet to validate perception of either Mayor Newsom or Supervisor Mirkarimi.

Pilgrimage scope aside, both city leaders praised the journey in a City Hall press conference announcing a public-private agreement aimed at reducing plastic bags by 10 million through close of 2006.

The measure, which also promotes greater customer use of cloth bags, joins expanding city projects established for the greening of San Francisco. The city now recycles two-thirds of all waste, compared to London's track record still "in the teens," Newsom pointed out.

Plastic bags take many years to biodegrade, and commonly litter the streets, clog storm drains, and kill sea life.

"San Francisco is a global recycling leader," stated Newsom.

"Today our city is taking a historic step to reduce the use of disposable items such as grocery store bags. This is just the beginning if we are to
become a truly sustainable city."

Mirkarimi warned against private industry driving reduction goals.

"I think that this is a fine half step in making certain that this does not become an industry driven remedy," Mirkarimi said.

"Listen, I really do laud that our government is able to broker this with the industry unto itself, but I'm cautious, I'm cautious just like I'm cautious that I think our nation is influenced by corporations who do not want to participate with enforceable guidelines in the Kyoto (global warming) or Rio accords," stated the District 5 supervisor.

"You can see the spirit of cooperation (laughter)," responded Newsom.

"I'm one of those guys that has the same ideals that everyone else has, but we've got to manifest them, we've got to make them happen and it's at times a rocky road.

"But this is not an insignificant half step. I wouldn't use that phrase. I think it's more than a half step as we're the only city in the United States of America that can lay claim to having gone as far as we're announcing that we're going," added the mayor.

Participating grocers include Albertson's, Andronico's, Bell Markets, CalMart, Cala Foods, Foods Co., Mollie Stone's and Safeway stores at 54 locations.

The target reduction of 10 million bags may represent up to twenty
Percent of the total bags distributed in San Francisco on an annual basis -- the exact figure of bags used annually will be captured through monitoring by the city.

A reduction of 10 million bags will keep 95 tons of material plastic out of San Francisco's waste stream, and will reduce San Francisco's contribution of greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 1 million pounds of CO2. This is equivalent to 44,000 gallons of oil or taking more than 14,000 automobiles off the road for a day.

The Commission on the Environment first looked at the issue of grocery
checkout bag reduction in San Francisco in late 2004.

Subsequently, Mayor Newsom and Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi co-sponsored a resolution focusing on reduction measures, and have worked together with industry to craft the voluntary reduction agreement.

The Department of the Environment is charged with ensuring that the
Goals of the Agreement are implemented. "We will immediately work with the grocery stores to determine an accurate baseline for the number of bags distributed.

Jared Blumenfeld

"We will then monitor the supermarkets' progress towards reaching the reduction targets," said Jared Blumenfeld, director of the San Francisco Department of the Environment.




The Hunger Site

Cooking Classes
in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires B&B

Calitri in southern Italy

L' Aquila in Abruzzo

Health Insurance Quotes


Bruce Brugmann's


Civic Center

Dan Noyes

Greg Dewar

Griper Blade


Malik Looper






MetroWize Urban Guide

Michael Moore

N Judah Chronicles


Robert Solis

SF Bay Guardian





SFWillie's Blog



Sweet Melissa