San Francisco to Require 10 Cent Bag “Fee”

February 7, 2012

In 2007, San Francisco passed a law banning supermarkets and large chain pharmacies from providing one-time use plastic bags to customers. The new legislation being considered today by the Board of Supervisors extends this ban to all stores and restaurants throughout the city.

In addition, each of these businesses must charge 10 cents per bag that they are allowed to provide to customers, whether the bag is made of paper, a special compostable plastic, or anything else. This 10 cent “fee” will not be collected by the government, but rather will be returned to the collecting businesses, to do with as they see fit. That makes it hard to say whether it really is a fee, or is a tax.

Plastic bag litter has reportedly decreased by 18% in the city since the original 2007 ban. Opponents claim the ban disproportionately hurts poor ethnic groups.

More on bag taxes.

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