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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The End of Pinkbagging?

Not so fast.

The legislation approved yesterday by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors only targets large supermarkets (Safeway) and pharmacies (Walgreens).

Chinatown appears to have escaped the ban.

And, actually – I'm kinda glad. Pinkbagging is a unique San Francisco cultural phenomenon. When you see me walking down the street, looking kind of ruffled, loaded down with pink bags from Chinatown, you know I just fought, clawed, and pushed my way to the best 59 cent-per-pound motherfucking fava bean in this whole motherfucking city.

Granted, I DO use cloth bags - often. In fact, when headed out to Whole Paycheck and the big chains, we always grab our cloth bags and proudly pony them up when it's time to check out.

Do you see that smug look of self-satisfaction on our face?

It's real.

Do you see that token we acquired from bringing our own bag and just put into the Friends of the Urban Forest donation jar?

It's real too.

(Okay Whole Foods, I've got to give you props for that!)

This legislation would make San Francisco the first city in the US to ban non-compostable plastic bags from stores of any kind. This is why so much of the country hates us. We're like the ball-hog on the basketball court. Always stealing the limelight – trying to do everything before everyone else. We're not cooler than LA or New York; not as well-dressed or as rich. And we certainly don't have as many nice and interesting restaurants. But, little ol' San Francisco really knows how to stir up the shit.

It's true. We are a city of kooks. I'm a kook, and proud. I'd like to consider myself part of the kookistocracy - not quite part of the Kookgeoisie; that's a level only attainable by the Frank Chus of the world.

If anything, this ban will be a boom for the grant writers who fund the reactionary, anti-environmentalists – some idealists, most just media whores. Sit back and listen to the cash roll in as they begin jumping in their chairs claiming the road to hell is paved with a ban on plastic bags. They'll be funded by the employers of Kristin Power, whose claim of rising prices as a result of the plastic bag ban is actually true – media whores and fake "experts" cost money.

I'm an environmentalist. But I'm also a skeptic.

Logically, I'm not sure how much of an impact banning plastic bags from large stores will have on the environment. Already, the supermarkets affected by the ban are promising to switch back to paper – which they've always had but never bother to offer anymore. However, there are a lot of good points to be made that paper isn't necessarily better for the environment than plastic.

Also, what affect will the ban have when so many other businesses remain exempt? Wouldn't it be just as good for the environment to require all downtown office towers to completely shut off their office lights each and every night? Or to reduce the number of street lights in the city? Even better, to switch conventional street lights over to solar-powered ones?

I remain a skeptic, but a supportive one.

Just keep your do-gooder claws off my pinkbags or I will rock your world like Lola Montez!



Anonymous Anonymous said...

great post! i think biodegradeable plastic bags are a poor, expensive, and complicated quick fix for regular disposable plastic bags. encouraging shoppers to re-use plastic bags or bring their own fabric tote bags would be much more environmentally friendly in the long run.

10:15 AM  

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