Starting October 1, the city of San Francisco will not only ban plastic bags, but they will also charge you ten cents per paper bag. The money accrued will go back to the retailer, not the city, in an effort to help them out with paper bag restocking costs. (Restaurants, however, can still issue plastic bags until October 1, 2013.) Is this a good thing? Sure. Aside from the dippy and drippy aesthetics associated with bringing one's own reusable bag to the grocery story or farmer's market—a look akin to a hot guy driving a Smart Car—a plastic bag ban/paper bag charge is good for mama nature and good for you. Or is it?
One-man think tank and local transit blogger Akit isn't too keen on the idea. The city's bag fee has already forced him to shop to Daly City or Colma (!), but he also has a slew of other thoughtful reasons why the checkout 10 cent bag ordinance is stupid and should be repealed, and why plastic isn't so bad.
In part, Akit writes:
The other problem I hate about the 10 cent minimum charge is being told to carry my own bags. That's fine for me when I drive my car to go shopping as I carry a variety of bags in my trunk for big and small things. But how about those times I may take the bus and I see in the store window something I like? Do I carry bags in my coat pocket? No. There's no room in my pockets as I have other items like a tissue packet, hand sanitizer, and my glasses case.
It makes practical sense to eliminate plastic bag usage, but sometimes plastic is better than paper; for example, when the ban goes into affect for restaurants, paper bags are not the best item to hold hot food. When the city banned styrofoam food containers, the new paper containers did not work great on items like steamed rice, spaghetti, and anything that uses some kind of sauce like gravy or curry on rice; the container would get so soggy, you could poke a finger into the container.
Though he's lived here his entire life, and really does understand the city in intricate ways many do not, Akit is "getting real tired of the city government and it's Board of Stupidvisors turning us into a nanny state telling us what aspects of our lives should be good and bad."
Read the entire screed over at Akit's Complaint Department.