San Francisco considers more than doubling price of plastic shopping bags

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A San Francisco supervisor is introducing legislation that would raise the fee shoppers have to pay for plastic bags, from 10 cents to 25 cents. 

Supervisor Vallie Brown said the city needs to do more to encourage people to bring their own bags with them when they go shopping.  

She said raising the price people have to pay for a bag has been shown to decrease the number of those bags given out by stores.

"There's no way we're going to be able to keep using these bags, we have to refuse, instead of recycle, we're saying refuse,” Brown said.

Some shoppers took the idea in stride.  "Not concerned about it at all, I think it's great. Do whatever we can to help the environment," said shopper Jacob Rennert. Another shopper who realized it would've cost him a full dollar didn't share the same welcome. 

"Going up to 25 cents is ridiculous," said Thomas Tuckerson. "We go there, we shop, we buy lots of food and we have to pay to carry it out. You know, that's not right."      

Brown is also proposing to ban plastic produce bags completely, saying they are difficult to recycle or reuse. Patrick Mills from Bi-Rite in San Francisco says this local grocery store worked with supervisor Brown's office on the proposed bag ordinance.

"That could feel like a lot of money," said Mills. "But if it changes your thinking and you realize, 'if I just bring a bag it costs nothing.'"

In 2007, San Francisco passed a groundbreaking law banning single-use plastic bags and later imposed a minimum 10 cent per bag fee for shoppers who don’t bring their own bags.

Some other California cities already charge 25 cents per bag, including Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Mateo and Pacifica.

If passed, the increased fee in San Francisco would go into effect on July 1, 2020.