In March 2007, San Francisco became the first city in the country to ban stores from bagging purchases in the common petroleum-based bags that are so rarely recycled and often end up floating down the street. On November 20, 2007, the ordinance — titled the Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance — took full effect on grocery stores with gross sales of at least $2 million. Pharmacies with more than four San Francisco branches will have to comply within six months of that date. Under this ordinance, the affected businesses are forbidden from handing out old-school plastic bags, and instead offer paper, compostable plastic or reusable bags.
All supermarkets are required by law to provide plastic bag recycling bins at all of their stores.