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San Francisco comes to Brasil

Ok not really, but kind of…see plastic bags are prohibited in San Francisco.  This really shouldn’t be a surprised as San Francisco is the most liberal, green, super government regulates everything city in the US.  But today a friend mentioned that at Extra they were charged .50 for a plastic bag, as in January all plastic bags will be outlawed.   So thanks to Google I confirmed it, I totally missed the announcement in May when the law was passed.  It was also put on hold by the supreme court, but I think it will still take affect in January now.


A couple of arguments against the ban made me laugh.  One of them was that the lower income people use the plastic bags as garbage bags, and now they’ll have to buy real garbage bags.  This totally made me laugh, because that’s what we horde them for, all of the little trash cans in our house.  And in Brasil, with the whole don’t flush the toilet thing, I can see how families go through these little plastic baggies in bulk!  Yeah I have a nice big bag that I use to carry stuff in, as it’s sturdy and helps in walking home, but those little plastic baggies are so useful.  And when you have a kid in diapers, those baggies make things nicer when you’re on the go (for everyone).  I had to laugh at the argument against this, basically that the poor people should be happy that they won’t get to use the plastic baggies anymore, as then people will buy the proper plastic bags for trash, so then they won’t break and get all over the street especially when it rains, or clog the gutters (at least that’s what I got from my portuguese readings).

Per the law however it seems there still will be plastic bags for use at the feiras (street fairs), or for putting your meat (cuz seriously I don’t want my samonella mixing with my fresh fruit), or milk/dairy products.

The interesting thing is, in San Francisco they at least provided an alternative… these cornstarch based bags or paper bags. Here the only thing they’ve got are these teensy plastic bags, so they’re even one step more hardcore than San Francisco.

It will be interesting to see how the Brasilian jeito comes out, as even though buying a reusable bag once isn’t too much money, it does kind of suck when you bring one of those bags and then buy a little bit more than can fit in one, and are at the store forced to buy another one. For me not a big deal, for a Brasilian on a tight budget, I’m gonna say that’s the difference between milk for breakfast or not.  Plus why pay for something you know you could get for free… I guess we’ll see people using boxes to load things more now too, as like I said, paper bags don’t exist here.  Probably a good thing, as we all love the rain forest as it is now, not as a big soybean farm.



About scrubgrub

I'm just another soul on the internet, posting random thoughts into the ether, because well I love stumbling on other peoples random thoughts, so I figured why not add mine to the mix too. I'm also the mom to two very funny little boys, and how can you not share that with everyone?

5 responses »

  1. This is already the law in Belo Horizonte. It went into effect in April. There was a marketing campaign leading up to the day the law came into effect and all the supermarkets were offering reuseable bags for sale. You can still buy plastic bags, they cost ,20 a piece, but are now the biogradable kind. They still have the clear plastic bags for produce and meat. The law has been amazingly successful. Before the law the supermarkets went through 450,000 bags a day. 4 months later, they are using only 40,000 a day (of the biodegradable kind). People use the reusable bags, or boxes that the supermarkets make available, or just put the groceries free form in their trunks (that last one might have to do with mineiros being too cheap to buy bags 🙂 ). I had so many plastic bags in my puxa saco, that it took me almost 4 months to have to buy little trash bags!

  2. I remember reading about this a few months ago but I had thought wherever I read that, they were going instead to keep the extra idea of charging for a different type of bag that is more biodegradable. In fact I think our Pomar changed out their bags recently and I wonder if that is because of this and then they will start charging for them soon. Huh! Either way, I agree with you, with this bathroom issue I like having all the little plastic bags around but I am also proud of Brazil for making a change like this.

  3. I heard about the law, but haven’t seen it in effect ANYWHERE in Salvador!

    Wonder how they’re going to enforce this? Send police to the supermarkets?


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