San Francisco to Reduce 10 Million Grocery Store Bags to Reduce Litter and Improve Local and Global Environment

San Francisco to Reduce 10 Million Grocery Store Bags to Reduce Litter and Improve Local and Global Environment

(November 2, 2005)

Press Contact:

Mayor's Office of Communications


San Francisco, CA – Mayor Gavin Newsom and Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi joined together to announce a unique public-private waste reduction agreement, the first of its kind in the nation, which calls for significant reduction of grocery checkout bag use. Working in conjunction with city government, supermarkets operated by Albertsons, Andronicos, Bell Markets, CalMart, Cala Foods, Foods Co, Mollie Stone's, and Safeway have set a reduction target of 10,000,000 by the end of 2006.

"San Francisco is a global recycling leader. We now recycle more than two-thirds of all our waste," said Mayor Newsom. "Today, our city is taking a historic step to reduce the use of disposable items such as grocery store bags," Newsom continued, "This is just the beginning if we are to become a truly sustainable city."

In 2003, City government adopted goals of 75 percent landfill diversion by 2010 and zero waste by 2020. These diversion goals intend to achieve a cleaner, healthier local environment and minimize the negative impacts of solid waste. This partnership is made possible by local stores' willingness to pursue innovative measures to reduce consumption and disposal of checkout bags, as well as the City's willingness to work with local stores in a cooperative measure.

"This is a first step whose merit shall be judged in due time, in making certain that this is not an industry driven remedy," said Supervisor Mirkarimi.

The target reduction of 10 million bags may represent up to twenty percent of the total bags distributed in San Francisco on an annual basis–the exact figure of bags used annually will be captured through monitoring by the city. A reduction of 10 million bags will keep 95 tons of material plastic out of San Francisco's waste stream, and will reduce San Francisco's contribution of greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 1 million pounds of CO2. This is equivalent to 44,000 gallons of oil or taking more than 14,000 automobiles off the road for a day.


Department of the Environment

City and County of San Francisco

11 Grove Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

Telephone: (415) 355-3700 | Fax: (415) 554-6393

Email: [email protected] |