Plastic bag ban takes effect at San Francisco drug stores

SAN FRANCISCO " Flimsy plastic bags are no longer an option for shoppers at many San Francisco drug stores as the city expands its ban to chains such as Walgreens and Rite Aid.

The ban went into effect today, about six months after the city began enforcing similar restrictions at grocery store franchises.

City officials estimate the grocery store ban alone will cut demand by 150 million plastic bags annually.

A spokesman for the city's garbage collection company says the number of bags at its recycling facility have dropped 10 to 15 percent since the grocery store ban took effect.

A grocers group critical of the ban says it will have little positive environmental impact by leading to increased use of paper bags.

The ban still allows stores to pass out "durable" plastic bags at least 2 1/4 millimeters thick.

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