It's a little surprising to realize that Berkeley is late to this game, but according to the Contra Costa Times, the city is finally gearing up to ban plastic bags at grocery stores. Numerous cities, including San Francisco and Oakland, have passed such bans. But plastic bag manufacturing companies sued Oakland and forced it to rescind its ban, arguing that the city didn't study the environmental consequences of forcing people to use paper bags instead. So Berkeley's come up with a rather novel approach. If the motion to comes to the City Council in February as anticipated, Berkeley will not only ban plastic bags, but attach a fee to paper bags as well. This will possibly discourage the use of paper in favor of reusable cloth bags, and perhaps get past the legal ruling that did in Oakland.