SAN FRANCISCO — A ban on traditional plastic bags that was passed by the Board of Supervisors here in March takes effect today. The ban applies to all full-line, self-service supermarkets with gross annual sales of $2 million or more; smaller supermarkets are exempt. The law will be extended in six months to cover drug stores with at least five locations under a single ownership within the city here. To comply with the law, some supermarkets here have eliminated plastic altogether in favor of paper, while others are offering reusable canvas bags. Stores can still offer plastic bags, as long as they are compostable — made of at least 40% high-grade recycled paper. Failure to comply will result in fines starting at $100 per violation, increasing to $200 for a second violation in the same year and up to $500. Oakland passed a similar ban on plastics that is scheduled to take effect early in 2008, though San Francisco claims its ban is the first in the nation to be enacted. Similar bans are scheduled to go into effect in London and Paris next year.
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