San Francisco Supervisors approve raising price of retail bags to 25 cents

The price of bags provided by retail stores in San Francisco will soon go up by 15 cents after the city's Board of Supervisors unanimously passed an ordinance raising the price Tuesday.

During the meeting, supervisors agreed that instead of 10 cents, stores should begin charging 25 cents for a recyclable or compostable paper bag during checkout.

Back in 2012, San Francisco became the first city in the nation requiring retail stores to charge customers 10 cents per bag.

That ordinance was an expansion of a previous 2007 law that banned supermarkets and chain-store pharmacies from providing single-use, non-compostable plastic bags.

"We have been a leader when it comes to plastic and waste and we are still struggling to reduce waste," said Supervisor Vallie Brown, who authored the ordinance.

"San Francisco generates 3 million tons of waste a year. Despite our efforts to date, this amount continues to grow. We are recycling and composting with the best of them, but it is now clear that we will never achieve our zero waste goals if our consumption and generation continues to grow. We need to change," Brown said.

In addition to raising the price of bags, the ordinance also requires that small, pre-checkout bags like those used for produce and other loose bulk foods be compostable or made from recycled paper.

"It is time for us as a city, as a leader on the environment, to step it up," Brown said.

Since San Francisco implemented the checkout bag charge, many other California cities have followed suit.

Currently, the cities of San Mateo, Los Altos, Santa Cruz, Monterey and Pacifica charge 25 cents per bag, as do the counties of Santa Clara and San Mateo.

If passed on second reading by supervisors and approved by Mayor London Breed, the ordinance would take effect on July 1, 2020.