February 16, 2005

SF Bag Tax Exceptions

Category: Environment

San Francisco The city has recently proposed a 17 cent tax on plastic grocery bags. This is a brilliant idea, which has been proven effective elsewhere - most famously in Ireland where plastic bag consumption has been reduced by 90% and enormous revenue reaped that might otherwise have required other taxes.

However - Safeway and other big grocery chains are raising a stink about this tax because smaller stores (and drugstores including Walgreens and Longs) are inexplicably exempt.

Frankly, they have a very good point! The tax should be levied on ALL stores - especially Walgreens and Longs. Not doing so risks increasing hostility and anti-environmental lobbying efforts by the big chains, which could de-rail the whole effort. Furthermore, small stores and drugstores are the kind of places where people go on small trips - perfect for bringing that canvas bag.

The one legitimate exception might be take-away restaurant food bags, because, well, i can't think of any good alternatives that are readily available.

Ed Note: A commenter on treehugger points out an interesting program at Tesco in the UK that might be useful for Safeway (though selling canvas bags might be even better!)

Posted by Nick at February 16, 2005 9:21 PM