Bring your own bag when shopping in SF

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(KTSF by Jessie Liang)

San Francisco, CA – San Francisco’s checkout bag ordinance took effect, Monday, October 1st. Single use plastic bags are now banned in retail stores. So consumers have to bring their own bag when shopping to avoid a minimum 10-cent charge for each paper bag or reusable bag provided to them.

To help consumers understand the checkout bag ordinance, San Francisco Department of Environment (SFE)  kicked off a multi-lingual citywide consumer education campaign to encourage shoppers to bring their own reusable bag when shopping.

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The SFE is hosting a bag giveaway event this week in Chinatown resulting in a long waiting line of local residents. One said, “I’m an environmental activist, so I want to get one for souvenir and meanwhile    remind people to bring it all the time. Go green!”

The SFE spokeswoman Janelle Fitzpatrick says, “Last week, we talked to over 650 residents, and we’re just trying to keep that momentum going over the next few months to kind of give this support of education around the ordinance.”

Did shoppers bring their own bag today?

“I forgot to bring my own bag.”

“I heard the businesses talking about it when I shopped before, so I know I have to bring my own bag today.”

One store owner says they don’t provide paper bags but they do sell reusable bags for a 20-cent fee per bag.  Consumers say it’s acceptable, “Of course, I will reuse it.”

The SFE has been speaking with over 5,000 businesses face -to- face throughout the city over the last six months. They also have been mailing the ordinance campaign information to over 9,000 retailers as well. In the next few months,  the  SFE will continue an extensive multi-lingual outreach campaign which includes Mandarin and Cantonese to educate San Francisco shoppers.

Fitzpatrick says, “Getting people in a habit of using the bag is the challenging thing, to change behavior but I think with this support of the community and the support of the businesses, there would be some changes.”

Here’re the tips shoppers can use to remember their reusable bags:

* Keep the bag by the door

* Keep reusable bags in the back seat or trunk of your car

* Keep a reusable bag at your place of work

* Keep compact reusable bags in a purse, pocket, or backpack

In California, there’re 50 cities and counties including San Francisco  that have  a ban on single-use plastic bags. City officials expect the expanded checkout bag ordinance to help San Francisco meet the zero waste goal for landfill by 2020.

You can visit www.SFEnvironment.org/checkoutbag for more about the ordinance.

(Copyright 2012 KTSF.  All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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