“San Francisco reverses ban on plastic bags, now bars reusable totes”

“The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union is pleading with consumers to ‘just say no to reusable bags’ for the duration of the pandemic, in order to protect baggers and cashiers who’ve inadvertently been placed on the front line.” [Patty Wetli, WTTW] Many cities and states are listening: “San Francisco has reversed its 13-year ban on plastic bags and will now prohibit the reusable bags city leaders once championed because of the coronavirus.” Massachusetts, New Hampshire and other states have taken similar steps. [Jeff Mordock, Washington Times] “We have always been at war with Reusable Totes” [Iowahawk]


  • Interesting lack of comma there.


  • Because reusable bags were antiseptic until a few days ago, right?

  • I wonder how many deaths were caused by reusable bags over the last decade or so? And how much cost for hospitalization, etc?

    People have cautioned about reusable bags not being sanitary in the past. And the reusable bag zealots recommended washing them, which drastically alters the environmental benefit equation.

    For example, here’s a 2012 article about bags spreading nonavirus:


  • This is a little bit of a bogus a-ha moment. This is an unprecedented situation, and it isn’t really fair to pick on SF.

    I get it that SF was pretty out of hand to ban the plastics, but I have to say, I try to use re-usable bags as much as I can. But it’s pretty unfair to rag on SF here.

    • It’s partially fair. Part of the problem with heavy-handed government regulations is that as a member of the public you aren’t allowed to adapt. There’s a pandemic and the reusable bags aren’t very safe? Too bad, you have to keep using them until the government says it’s OK not to.

      • Fair point. You’re right that the government has an obligation to be flexible if it’s going to be a nanny.

  • Where exactly are the stores supposed to get these plastic bags? It’s not like they have warehouses of them sitting around waiting for the city to change their mind.

    As far as unfair, of course it’s fair. They made a stupid decision based on a lack of science. They chose to ban very thin, low energy plastic bags. These bags are reused a lot. I use them to clean my cat box. If I don’t have disposable bags I have to buy thicker bags which take up to 10x more energy. They also chose to force people to use unsanitary reusable bags. Even if you wash them regularly that takes more energy than making the same number of plastic bags. The number I have seen in studies is 150 uses without washing before energy equality. Not to mention that the people didn’t want them. If the people wanted them then they were already using them. Now they are reversing their ban, not just recommending that “for the duration” but changing their law and doing the exact opposite. They deserve every iota of mockery they get.

    • I get them from Amazon. They have a wide variety available, in bulk. Shipping may not be as fast as it used to be, but that probably depends on how large your order is and how much you are willing to pay.

  • As Bloomberg has said, it was never about the bags, it was about striking a blow against “big oil”.

  • Let’s look at the timeline. Once upon a time, we had paper bags from the supermarket which, as my mother taught me, made fine liners for garbage pails. It was used twice, therefore, until it was decided paper bags were evil, whereupon we were to use plastic. bags. Only what were we supposed to use in our garbage pails” No problem! You could buy plastic bags for those. Then plastic bags were decreed evil, and we were supposed to use reusable, handmade bags.

    Fine! But what was I supposed to line my garbage pail with? Still using the plastic bags for those. And now, in this emergency, we resort to plastic bags again, instead of biodegradable paper bags used from renewable resources.

    It would be nice if I didn’t have to learn a whole new set of behavior every couple of years, when the powers-that-be decide who’s evil this week. This week it’s the coronavirus. I suppose I’m scheduled to be evil around July.