If You're Going To San Francisco...
Be Sure To Bring Your Own Bags

If You're Going To San Francisco...
Be Sure To Bring Your Own Bags

Tess Wilson
Sep 28, 2012

Please accept my apologies for using such clichéd lyrics, but I absolutely could not resist. Beginning October 1st, the San Francisco Checkout Bag Ordinance requires that all retail establishments charge customers a minimum of 10¢ per bag. Those dimes can add up quickly (think of groceries double-bagged for the long walk home), so now's the time to save resources and your budget..

I have to admit that I'm excited about this new rule- this is why you move to San Francisco, right? New adventures in ways to live! Of course, San Francisco is far from the first to have such a rule. According to SFEnvironment, "At least 45 other cities and counties in California have similar laws. Checkout bag charges have been shown to reduce the number of disposable bags used by 70-90 percent." A 90% reduction is incredibly impressive! I think attaching a cost to something commonly seen as free-flowing is smart: those bags cost businesses money (and they pass the cost on to customers), they cost energy and waste (even if they're recycled), and they shouldn't be taken for granted.

So what's your game plan? I always carry a big tote, large enough for a fair amount of groceries, and usually have a reusable bag crumpled in there somewhere for larger hauls. But I'm far from perfect, and get caught without my bag(s) more often than I would like. If I was super-smart, I think I'd find the little "envelope" my Baggu bag came in, and keep it folded in there all nice & neat, tucked in my pocketbook. We'll see. Most of all, I'm resisting the urge to go out and buy a new reusable bag. It's certainly tempting, but definitely a bit perverse to use conserving resources as an excuse to use resources. If I see a cute and sturdy bag at the thrift store, however, I might go for it because all of my reusable bags are in sorry shape. Years & years of groceries and swim gear, a million washes, mysterious stains, and being crumpled at the bottom of my purse have left them less-than-cute. But they get the job done, so I guess I'll just wait 'till they dissolve. Are you ready for the bag ban?

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(Image: Jane Market Bag Sewing Pattern from Posie: Rosy Little Things, photo by Alicia Paulson of Posie Gets Cozy. This bag would be the perfect project to use up any fabric you've been holding onto!)

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