On December 15, The San Francisco Chronicle reports that San Jose, the third most populous city in California, has banned the use of plastic bags.
The introduction of the ban was submitted for discussion at a meeting of the City Council held the day before. As a result, the ban on the use of plastic bags was approved by almost everyone — ten advisers spoke in favor of introducing this initiative, while only one spoke out against.
The ban will take effect on January 1 next year. According to the approved resolution, from the above date, the distribution of plastic bags in pharmacies, supermarkets, grocery stores and stalls will be prohibited. Instead of traditional plastic bags, sellers will have to pack the goods sold to customers either in paper bags or in bags consisting of some other degradable material.
In the event of a three-time violation of the ban, a fine of one thousand dollars will be collected. At the same time, it is noted that the ban on plastic bags will not be applied to municipal second-hand shops and restaurants. San Jose authorities have determined that about five thousand outlets will be forced to abandon the use of plastic bags.
According to the authors of this bill, the rejection of plastic bags should help improve the environmental situation in the city. For example, advocates of reform argue that plastic bags take hundreds of years to decompose, and their recycling is costly and inefficient. In response to such arguments, opponents of the ban, among whom were also representatives of the chemical industry, pointed out that thanks to modern processing technologies, it becomes possible to easily recycle any package consisting of plastic.
It is worth noting that San Jose is the first city in the United States of America to impose such severe restrictions on the use of plastic bags. So «The San Jose Mercury News» notes that similar bills were previously adopted in some major cities in California, Los Angeles and San Francisco, however, there the ban on the use of synthetic bags could not be so widespread.