The Rise of Eco-Chic: 'Plastic Grocery Bags Are Out'

June 26th, 2007 5:29 PM

Dateline: San Francisco. A city which ranked as the "most liberal city in America" is taking another shot at business and consumer rights and another step towards socialism with it's most recent ban. This week’s victim? The plastic shopping bag.

Jane Meredith Adams, a contributing editor to Parenting Magazine penned this June 25 special to the Chicago Tribune in which she ignores the impact of the law’s demands on businesses and consumers but instead highlights the fashionable nature of "eco-chic grocery totes."

The story exposes those behind the movement:

These green fashionistas hope to lure the style-conscious into a nationwide anti-plastic-bag frenzy egged on by, of all forces, the fashion bible Vogue magazine.

"Today, let us go out and harness the power of fashion to change the way the nation shops," contributing editor Sarah Mower wrote in last month's edition.

"One stylish act of rebellion in supermarkets, delis, drugstores and designer emporiums and at market stalls is all it takes: Say no to plastic bags."

Vogue, home of clothing and accessories that scarcely a suburban soccer mom can afford, seems awfully concerned about the way America looks when they're shopping for groceries. Could it be that they're just shilling for their featured $900 Valextra medium shopping bags?

According to Adams' Tribune article, "plastic grocery bags are out."

[And to think, the other day I dragged 6 plastic bags full of groceries, the mile between the grocery store and my house. God, I hope the fashion police didn't spot me. But I just didn't have the 5400 dollars that it would cost to tote home my groceries in Vogue approved style.]

The Tribune feature gives just one paragraph to the markets that fought the ban, saying "the 50 grocery stores that would be most affected had argued that the ban was not reasonable because plastic bags made of corn byproducts are a relatively new, expensive and untested product. Some said they might offer only paper bags at checkout."

Instead the story gives voice to the seemingly endless proponents of the ban - ordinary San Franciscans just like me and you. People like "art student Ying Hsiao [who] wore a handsome messenger bag slung across her back. Or Philip Watson who "carried a half-gallon of soy milk, yogurt, a hunk of kale, and oranges and apples on his back in a sturdy backpack."

Nowhere is any normal, "unfashionable" shopper, those who actually don't want to pay for the extra costs or extra hassle, given any voice. Although at the end of the article it does mention how Kelly Cook, co-owner of fashion blog confessed that "I had my Anya bag when I went to the market, and it was so cute that I have to admit, when the guy was bagging my chicken, I said, you'd better not."

Well they better not get used to that kind of treatment for in a few months, San Francisco stores will no longer be allowed to spare customers the courtesy of shielding their grocery totes from the salmonella-fresh goodness of chicken blood.

Of course, nowhere in the article does Adams mention that plastic grocery bags are RECYCLABLE, and, according to, "most grocery stores will accept plastic bags and have recycling bins inside the store."

If people don't want to use plastic bags that's fine, if people don't want to recycle, it's their prerogative, but when the government starts stepping in, forcing businesses to adhere to another costly regulation for the sake of the environment, the media have an obligation to treat the issue with something more objective than a puffy "green" chic article.