San Francisco recently banned the use of plastic bags by stores, and now other cities are wanting to clean up their cities of them as well. Phoenix, Santa Cruz and Portland are among the other cities currently looking into getting the bags banned in their cities. Hopefully this will soon become a nationwide trend with demand for more environmentally friendly bags.
(via: Boston.com) The Boston City Council wants to ban the use of plastic shopping bags at supermarkets, pharmacies, and convenience stores in the city, saying the ubiquitous bags are a hazard to the environment and a maddening blight of the landscape.
A measure sponsored by Consalvo and endorsed by nine of the council’s 12 sitting members seeks a ban on disposable plastic bags at large retail stores. The measure also proposes possibilities for increased recycling of the bags, such as collection bins around the city or curbside pick up.
The proposal yesterday advanced to the council’s Committee on City and Neighborhood Services, where details of the measure are to be ironed out. With three-fourths of the councilors cosponsoring the measure, it is likely have broad support when it returns to the full council for a final vote. Mayor Thomas M. Menino would have to sign the measure for it to become law.
The proposal comes amid growing concern over plastic shopping bags, some 100 billion of which end up in American landfills each year, according to Worldwatch Institute, an environmental research agency.
“They end up everywhere,” said Councilor Robert Consalvo . “They blow in trees, they’re floating in Boston Harbor . . . They’re an environmental nightmare. We need to rid our city of these plastic bags.”
The bags are popular among stores because they are cheap to manufacture, costing less than one cent per bag, and many consumers prefer them because they are easy to carry. But environmentalists have railed against them because they are difficult to recycle and take centuries to decompose in landfills.
San Francisco recently banned the bags, requiring large retailers to use recyclable materials, and a host of other cities, including Phoenix, Santa Cruz, Calif., and Portland, Ore., are considering similar measures.
Meanwhile, state Senator Brian A. Joyce is drawing up plans to file a bill proposing a statewide law that would charge store customers a fee if they elect plastic over other kinds of bags. If the bill passed, the fee would start at 2 cents per bag in 2008 and gradually increase to 15 cents per bag in the seventh year, according to a draft of the plan, which would apply to supermarkets that annually gross more than $1 million. The revenue would go toward the state’s recycling programs and toward improving consumer awareness of environmental problems caused by plastic bags.
“It’s a measure whose time has come,” said Joyce, a Milton Democrat. “People are increasingly aware of the harmful effects things have on the environment.” (Continue Reading the rest of this article at Boston.com)