San Francisco Law Would Target Plastic Newspaper Bags

By: E&P Staff

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors — which Tuesday passed a law requiring large supermarkets and drug stores to provide only biodegradable or recyclable plastic or paper bags — may add a ban on the kind of plastic bags newspapers use to keep home-delivered copies safe from the elements.

In an article by staff writer Chuck Squatriglia, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that the supervisor who drafted the plastic bag law says he is “inclined” to expand it to include newspaper bags.

“We will definitely be looking at it,” Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi said. “More will be coming from us.”

The plastic bags newspapers typically use in home delivery are not biodegradable, but are recyclable. But the Chronicle story notes that it is difficult to find Bay Area recycling firms that will handle the bags.

A spokesman for one big San Francisco recycling firm, Sunset Scavenger Co., told the Chronicle the bags are difficult to separate from other recyclable material, and harm conveyor belts and other equipment.

Henry Ford, the newspaper’s director of marketing, said the Chronicle would comply with any new legislation passed.

“Currently, we strive to offer readers optimum balance of recyclable materials and delivery of a clean and dry newspaper,” he told the paper.

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