We've been following the (mostly fruitless) efforts of a group called the "Save the Plastic Bag Coalition," an association of plastic bag manufacturers and distributors, to push back against the growing tide of municipalities that have banned or otherwise highly regulated the use of bags at grocery stores and elsewhere. Despite one success story (later reversed by the California Supreme Court), it appears to us that the STPBC's legal efforts have been quixotic (see here and here, for example).
Add to those decisions the latest, this time from the California Court of Appeal, upholding San Francisco's plastic bag ordinance against a challenge under CEQA (California's environmental review law, for you offworlders), and a state law preemption challenge.
In Save the Plastic Bag Coalition v. City and County of San Francisco, No. A137056 (Dec. 10, 2013) (certified for publication Jan 3, 2014), the Court of Appeal held that the city's ordinance -- originally adopted in 2007 to require the use of recyclable or reuseable bags at large grocery stores and retail pharmacies, and amended in 2010 to apply to all retailers and food establishments -- was categorically exempt from CEQA, and was not preempted by California Retail Food Code (who knew?).
You can read the opinion if you are interested, and we won't go into greater detail here. We post this case only because all this plastic bag stuff seems like a lot of sturm und drang over ... we're not quite sure what. On one hand, these bags can be quite handy, both at check out and in later re-use around the house. On the other, many do end up in landfills and as street litter, but they seem a whole lot less problematic than, say, those plastic garbage bags you can still buy in grocery, drug, and hardware stores, and other similar plasticky items like those used for drop cloths while painting, or even the old blue tarp. Those too end up in the earth, and it seems to us will take lots longer to deteriorate than the thin-skinned grocery bags. Also, the reuseable bags are claimed to have their own set of problems, so other than carrying all that stuff home in your murse, you don't have a lot of 100% foolproof solutions.
Despite the unsettled questions, the plastic bag regulations have taken on a life of their own, and regular readers of this blog will remember that from time to time we help with a solution, even if your jurisdiction doesn't already ban plastic bags (the issue surely will be coming your way eventually). Thus, for a limited time, we're offering to our readers our firm's reuseable, 100%-from-recycled-materials-big-enough-to-carry-two-bags-of-groceries EnviroBag (see photo above, and from another angle here). These blue bags are not your typical cheapo recycled reuseable bags, but are made of a sturdy woven fiber and have a built-in floor piece. They are quite strong and will hold a ton of stuff.
To get yours, simply send us an email with your address, and we'll post one to you forthwith. So we're not giving these away for the indefinite future, this offer closes at 11:59 p.m. Hawaii time on Friday, January 190, 2014.
Admin note: Our firm's servers have very aggressive spam filters, so if you do not get an email response from me ("Bag on they way" or similar) within a reasonable amount of time after your request, please ping me again. Sometimes, valid messages get caught up and I only clear my junk mail folder occasionally. Don't want to miss anyone.