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The San Jose City Council has voted to ban the free distribution of single-use plastic bags within the city limits, a ban that will go into effect in 2011 – assuming that it survives an environmental impact study and one more vote by the City Council.

Northern California seems friendly to the notion of such bans, with San Francisco having approved one in 2007 and Palo Alto’s ban having gone into effect just last week. And other local communities seem to be more willing to consider a ban on bags once San Jose implements its legislation. One difference in the San Jose ordinance – it also includes paper bags, though it seems less likely that this part of the ban will make it through the political process.

The San Jose Mercury News writes that “the city's legal department also will need to determine whether the city can require retailers to charge a fee for bags and how the fee would be shared by retailers and the city.”
KC's View:
This keeps popping up, and keeps generating a lot of email…and I get it: it seems like the majority of MNB users hate the idea of bans and fees, believing that we should trust market forces to decide whether a shift to reusable bags makes sense.

The thing is, market forces are often determined by who has the most money to plow into public relations efforts…and it almost certainly won’t be the people on the side of reusable bags. All I know is that I feel good about the fact that we never use paper and plastic in our household….it feels like the smart environmental decision. And I keep seeing more and more people bringing reusable bags into the stores where I shop, in communities where there are neither bans nor fees. It is a small sample, but mine own.