It's not so much the carrying groceries in paper bags rather than plastic -- I'm pretty neutral on that, although the Safeway paper bags aren't great; the handles are pretty flimsy. But I use plastic bags for other things, and I know I'm not the only one: we use them to line garbage cans, when traveling, to clean the litterbox. That last thing I'm particularly concerned about. We can use paper bags in most of the other garbage applications, but how am I going to clean the litterbox every day without a plastic grocery bag? The only thing I can think of right now is to buy more plastic bags. Somehow, I don't think that's what the environmental groups who supported this law had in mind.
Well, I'm sure I'll think of something. The results aren't all bad. We went back to Safeway today, and they're giving out a free cloth bag with every $25 purchase. It's pretty flimsy as cloth bags go, but it's still more reusable than paper. So that's a win. I wish Whole Foods would do that, too -- their bags are a lot more substantial.