Heated Debate Swirls Around Plastic Bag Ban Proposal

Ban would cost customers, retailers say

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    San Jose could become the home of the country's strictest plastic bag ban.

    There will, no doubt, be a vocal group at at San Jose City Hall Tuesday night when the council votes on what would be the strictest bag ban in the state.

    Even as environmentalists applaud the measure, many business owners are frowning over the proposal, saying the ban would cost their customers hundreds of dollars a year because the rule not only bans plastic bags, but also imposes a 10- to 25-cent fee per paper bag. That would cover the cost for businesses using "green" or recycled paper bags.

    Only restaurants, non-profits and service groups would be exempt from the ban.

    Onwers of a San Jose 7-11 franchise say they collected 1,400 signatures from their customers opposing the proposal. Many of the protesting business owners are telling the city to focus instead on recycling and bag the ban.

    "We believe recycling is the way to go." Merchant Gian Rossini said. "Our customers should be treated like adults and they should be given the opportunity to make their own decisions in this affair."

    An industry group called Save the Plastic Bag has sued cities over bans demanding environmental review which could cost tens of thousands of dollars.

    The group says plastic bags are benign, citing a recent report an environmental group. Save The Bay estimates that a quarter of a million plastic bags end up in San Francisco Bay every year.

    If the council approves the ban, it would be the third in the Bay Area behind San Francisco and Palo Alto.