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January 25, 2008

Extra! Extra! Locals needed at Oakland City Hall on Monday!


If you live in the SF Bay Area and have some time free Monday morning, your presence is requested on the steps of Oakland City Hall OR Hearing Room 1, on the first floor of City Hall in case of rain.

Please come with your reusable canvas bags in hand to show support for Oakland’s plastic bag ban, which is being challenged in court by the plastics industry. I will be there with MY canvas bags in hand. It’s great for us as individuals to voluntarily bring our own bags to the store with us. But we also need strong measures from our governments to eliminate the threat to the environment entirely.


Office of Councilmembers Nancy Nadel, District 3 and Jean Quan, District 4

January 25, 2008

Marisa Arrona, (510) 238-7031
Policy Aide to Councilmember Nadel


OAKLAND, CA — City Councilmembers Nancy Nadel (District 3) and Jean Quan (District 4) will hold a press conference Monday, January 28, 2008, at 10 am, at City Hall to affirm the City of Oakland’s commitment to reducing pollution, oil-consumption, blight, and global warming through its ban on single-use plastic bags.

On Tuesday, January 29, 2008, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch will consider the plastic bag industry’s lawsuit to stop the City’s ordinance banning the use of non-biodegradable carryout plastic bags at retail establishments in Oakland.

“The tide is turning internationally against the plastic bag glut in our environment, and Oakland will not be intimidated against doing our part to switch to reusable bags,” said Councilmember Nancy Nadel.

The plastic bag industry’s lawsuit claims that the City did not consider potential environmental impacts of banning plastic bags. However, the City determined that not only will a large scale reduction of plastic bags improve the environment, but there is no evidence that the plastic bag ban will harm the environment – and thus the plastic bag ban is exempt from environmental review.

The plastic bag ban was scheduled to go into effect on January 18, 2008, although the City has delayed enforcement pending a resolution of the lawsuit in the trial court.

“We’re hoping for the best decision from the Court, but regardless of the decision on Tuesday, we pledge to join a quarter of the world’s population that has already banned plastic bags,” said Councilmember Jean Quan, who co-authored the ordinance with Councilmember Nadel.

Oakland’s ordinance, passed on July 17, 2007, contains four elements:

  • It bans the use of non-biodegradable plastic carry-out bags provided at the point of sale at retail establishments in Oakland that gross one million dollars or more.
  • It encourages affected retail establishments to offer incentives to customers to use reusable bags.
  • It allows the use of single-use paper bags, but stipulates that they must contain recycled content.
  • Although it does not encourage or discourage their use, the Ordinance allows the use of biodegradable plastic bags.

A growing list of countries and foreign cities from Bangladesh to Zanzibar have already banned plastic bags, including China, Denmark, Ireland, South Africa, Taiwan, Singapore, Melbourne, and a number of East African countries. Recently, San Francisco banned the use of plastic bags and a growing number of other U.S. cities are now considering similar legislation. Just last week, Whole Foods, Inc., announced that it is phasing out the use of plastic bags in all of its stores nationwide by Earth Day, April 22, 2008. City Car Share, which helps reduce air pollution and gasoline consumption by reducing the number of cars on the road through car sharing in Oakland, Berkeley and San Francisco, now provides reusable bags for grocery shopping in all of its cars.

I’d love to see you there!

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hello, I was going through my blog fashionethos.blogspot and finally had time to visit your site. It is incredible that companies can sue cities aka the public,. I mean just the idea that a huge entity formed primarily to make a profit -the larger the better; should have the rights of a human being who for better or worse at least has a conscience and a lifespan that helps them self regulate unlike the onliving, ongrowing powering up of corporations. How can that make sense -ever? Thanks for fighting back and standing up for sanity, deborah


Oh, this is fantastic news Beth! I definitely hope that it passes! Unfortunately, I have meetings Monday morning so I will not be able to make it... However, I did eat at Le Mediterenee in SF on Friday and they wrapped my leftovers in a 100% biodegradable container in a paper bag so progress is being made... In fact, I just finished typing them up a thank you letter as I think it's just as important to tell companies you appreciate their efforts as it is to write complaint letters.

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