South Bay News

SJ plastic bag ban goes into effect New Year's Day

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Starting Jan. 1, 2012, don't shop in San Jose without bringing your own bag. The plastic variety are being banned and not just in grocery stores, virtually every business must comply. San Jose isn't the first city to ban bags, but its law is considered to be the most comprehensive.

Their days are numbered, and many San Jose residents say they're going to miss them. Edith Osegueda of San Jose says she uses plastic bags for everything.

"Of course, number one, the garbage, but we use it sometime for storing things. Like dog food, sometimes when I open the bag, I put the bag in there to stay fresh," said Osegueda.

San Jose's ban on plastic shopping bags will begin Jan. 1st. The ordinance is considered to be one of the most sweeping laws of its kind, affecting not just grocery stores, but every one of San Jose's 5,000 retail businesses, from giant chains like Target to small mom and pops.

Mi Pueblo Food Center has been educating its customers for a while now. They're telling customers about the ban at the checkout lines and through the posters they've displayed throughout the store.

"It's not our choice, but we are doing the best we can to accommodate and let everyone know we're here to cooperate. It's for the betterment of the environment," said Juvenal Chavez, Jr., from the Mi Pueblo Food Center.

Stores will still provide paper bags, but customers will have to pay at least 10 cents for one.

"My God, the grocery prices are skyrocketing, out of this world and you're going to charge an additional 10 cents?" said Barbara Taylor of San Jose.

City leaders are hoping people will learn to bring their own reusable bags. Shoppers we talked to say the transition is going to be tough.

"I can't even afford bags, you know, so I'll be one of them with a big old backpack," said Albert of San Jose.

"We're not going to want to pay 10 cents for every paper bag if we can't use plastic. I mean we have other bags, but we have like two and that's not going to fit all our groceries every time we go," said Rayna Moran of San Jose.

Stores that don't comply face fines of up to $1,000 a day. Restaurants and non-profits are exempt from the ban.

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