San Francisco plastic bag ban legislation
garners worldwide BBC audience
Superivsor Ross Mirkarimi prepares for an interview with the BBC's
to talk about legislation he sponsored that bans plastic shopping
bags in San Franciscio.
September 16, 2007
San Francisco's lead in banning plastic shopping bags in an effort
to curb greenhouse gas emissions as well as reduce non-degradable
landfill waste, captured a worldwide audience Friday when Supervisor
Ross Mirkarimi took to the world stage on the BBC's live television
Mirkarimi, who sponsored municipal legislation
banning the use of plastic bags, was invited by the BBC's World
Service in London to talk about the ban and to help promote
municipally inspired bans of petroleum-based plastic bags in cities
all across the world.
"It's a very solid idea - inline with the times - because
we cannot wait for our federal or state government to enact these
kind of measures," Mirkarimi said. "Many people felt
throughout San Francisco that it was high time that we helped
lead the charge municipally.
"Our law bans the petroleum-made polyethylene plastic bag
and requires grocery stores and drugs stores to replace plastic
bags with a bio-degradable or compostable bag. Our preference
would be that we would ban both so that we would incentivize people
to use reusable bags.
"Recycling in the United States of plastic bags amounts
to, at most, 2 percent per year out of an estimated 100 billion
bags that are used. So we're nowhere on pace as we should be.
"There has to be some manufacturing responsibility instead
of deflecting it onto the taxpayers or local government. After
all, we're the ones who have to pay for the degradation to our
environment, and the taxpaying cost of discarding these bags.
"And, yet, the companies who are foisting these upon us
are the ones who are getting off the hook. So we're saying - and
I applaud London's consideration - either taxing the [plastic]
bags or banning them altogether because, after all, it's our environment
that has to live with this."
Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi is joined by his legislative aide Boris
who helped Mirkarimi in his effort to move San Francisco towards