Joining 14 other SF Peninsula cities, San Carlos has officially recognized and implemented the county ordinance banning retailers from distributing plastic bags. The ordinance permits retailers to distribute paper bags at a cost of 10 cents per bag, given that the bags are made of at least 40 percent post-consumer content. It is the latest step towards Bay Area-wide acceptance of green recycling procedures.
San Carlos was hesitant to join other cities that immediately enacted the legislation citing concerns from local businesses. According to Assistant City Manager Brian Moura, “We moved the start date after a survey with the retailers in the city; a number of them indicated they wished to use up their remaining stock of plastic bags.” Some businesses who voted against the measure did so because of the inability to liquidate their supply of plastic bags.
Plastic bags cause major headaches for all involved in waste management. Although they are made from recyclable materials they are often mixed in with other materials like paper, requiring extra sorting. “Plastic bags create challenges wherever they show up,” said Robert Reed of Recology, the company that handles trash and recycling in the area.
While paper bags provide a greener alternative to plastic, Reed suggests shoppers become accustom to using canvas bags to further reduce excess junk buildup in their cities. Canvas bags provide a reuse factor that both paper and plastic cannot give.
As supporters of green-hauling techniques, Fast Haul supports the city of San Carlos in their decision and hopes other cities still on the fence consider the benefits.
By: Ethan Malone