If people won’t recycle on their own, then by gum, we’ll make them!

I actually kind of like this idea:

San Francisco, which has long prided itself on environmentally friendly policies, is debating whether it should become the first U.S. city to tax grocery bags to encourage recycling.

On Tuesday, the city’s Department of the Environment will vote on whether to recommend a 17 cent fee on each bag, be it paper or plastic, in an effort to curb the use of an estimated 50 million bags a year in the Californian city.

I have no problem with purchasing my own cloth bags (or whatever) to carry groceries in. My concern is how easy it would be for the various stores to implement procedures allowing for people who bring their own bags. At my local Wal-Mart and Bi-Lo stores, for example, there are these fabulous spinning columns of plastic bags, extremely easy to use and convenient. There is literally nowhere else for groceries to go. Unless you could manage to place a cloth bag into each plastic bag section before the cashier finishes scanning your first item, I’m not sure how this would work.

Essentially, right now it’s easier and it causes less trouble to simply use the bags the store provides. If something like what San Francisco is proposing is actually going to work, store infrastructures have to be changed so that people who want to use their own bags don’t end up holding up the line.