In a sweeping 10-1 verdict, the San Jose City Council has officially banned all single use plastic shopping bags and barred retailers from giving away paper bags yesterday. The ban will take effect on January 1st 2012 and was pushed along by a mighty campaign by non-profit Save the Bay who estimates that over 1 million single use shopping bags end up in San Francisco Bay every year. San Jose is California’s third largest city making this the largest plastic bag ban in the state.

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The ruling bans all single-use plastic shopping bags outright and puts a restriction paper bags, which aren’t earth-friendly either – remember all those save the trees, use plastic campaigns? In 2012 retailers will have to start charging 10 cents for a paper bag and in 2013 the price will go up to 25 cents, hopefully gently leading customers towards using reusable bags.

San Francisco, unincorporated parts of Los Angeles County, Malibu, Fairfax, and Palo Alto have already passed plastic bag bans, but a state-wide ban — which was endorsed by the governor — failed to get a pass earlier this fall. “I think it’s going to be an anchor in Northern California to get additional cities to move forward. Just the fact that they’re going through this process is having an impact,” Leslie Tamminen, Ocean Program Director for Seventh Generation Advisors, told Bay Citizen earlier this month. “They’re blazing a path for others, and others are certainly following.” Hopefully adding San Jose to the plastic bag haters list will help other cities find the gumption to give them the boot as well.

+ Save the Bay