San Fran bans plastic bags

San Francisco became the first major city to outlaw the use of conventional plastic bags after the city's Board of Supervisors voted 10-1 in favor of prohibiting them at major supermarkets and pharmacy chains, reported USA Today.

Grocery stores will be required to phase out use of the petroleum-based bags within six months, while pharmacies have a year to make the switch. Instead, stores will be required to offer customers bags made of recyclable paper, biodegradable corn-based plastic that breaks down into compost, or reusable cloth or canvas. Customers will also be encouraged to adopt the practice of bringing reusable bags from home.

Plastic bags have long been a target of environmentalists due to their non-biodegradability and their tendency to escape the waste stream, creating litter and endangering wildlife.