Oct 24, 2012 8:51 PM by John Reger

GQ: Why can one store hand out plastic bags to shoppers and the store next door can't?

Tonight's Good Question comes from someone who was shopping at the Pismo Beach Outlet Mall. She says she was handed a plastic bag for her purchase at one store, but had to pay 10 cents for a brown bag at the store three doors down.

The question: Why does one store get to use plastic and a neighbor doesn't? And does the government get the 10 cents for the brown bag? Good multiple question.

The rules on plastic bags in San Luis Obispo County depend on the type of store involved, and it's size. Supermarkets, retail pharmacies and convenience stores cannot use plastic bags at the check-out counter. The same is true for any store with over 10,000 square feet of retail space. So you can have a big shoe store right next door to a small clothing shop, and the rules are different for both.

The stores that can't use plastic bags have to sell recyclable paper bags. They must charge at least 10 cents for a bag but can charge what they want as long as it is, quote, "reasonable." The 10 cents does not go to the government, but to the store, so it can pay for the paper bags.

Be sure to send your Good Question to goodquestion@ksby.com or facebook.com/JohnRegerKsbyNews. The only bad question is the one you don't ask.