By: Evan Brown

The day has arrived: Plastic bags in SF are a thing of the past… mostly.

If you somehow hadn’t heard, just plain forgot, or were understandably confused by the only-just-concluded wrangling in court and thought it was already here, be advised that San Francisco’s ban on plastic bags for all but a few types of businesses takes effect today. All petroleum-based disposable bags are getting the sack by 2013.

Even before today’s mandated switch, restaurants, convenience stores and a swath of retailers in other sectors have been phasing out plastic in favor of paper bags. And as patrons are already finding out, just using paper doesn’t get you totally off the hook – each bag adds ten cents onto a customer’s purchase.

The intent is to get folks to give up one-time-use shopping bags and adopt a habit of bringing reusable bags to the store, as many eco-conscious consumers have been doing for years. Now that you more or less have to get on the canvas bag bandwagon, have no fear of not finding a bag to fit your personal style. There are many manufacturers and retailers of reusable bags, including some bags made in San Francisco. While some may find the new regulations onerous, it’s hard to deny that few things say “San Francisco” better than environmentally friendly self-expression.