Plastic Bag Ban Passes in LA
The Los Angeles City Council voted on Tuesday, June 18 to approve a ban on single-use plastic shopping bags. The Coucil voted 11 to 1 in favor of the ordinance, and a final vote is scheduled for next week. Last year, the Council voted 13 to 1 to move forward on banning single use plastic shopping bags. The ban will go into effect for large stores on January 1, 2014, and for smaller stores on July 1, 2014. Paper bags will not be included in the ban, but stores now have to charge 10 cents per paper bag.
When the ban goes into affect, one in four Californians will live in a city that bans single-use plastic shoppings bags, according to the environmental group, Heal the Bay. There is good financial reasoning behind the ban. Only five percent of single use plastic bags are recycled every year across the state and California municipalities spend almost $25 million a year to collect and throw away plastic bags that litter the streets and clog storm drains. Currently there are almost two billion plastic shopping bags and 400 million paper bags are distributed every year in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles joins other Southern California cities which have banned plastic shopping bags, including Long Beach, Calabasas, Santa Monica, Pasadena, and unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County. There are cities in other parts of California that have enacted bans on plastic shopping bags. A total of 76 state municipalities have such bans and dozens of others are considering enacting bans.
"Today, our city became a model for our state and the rest of the nation," said Kirsten James, Heal the Bay’s Science and Policy Director for water quality. "The vote further emphasizes that the time has come for us to move past the wasteful convenience of a plastic bag to sustainable reusable bags."
Plastic bags and garbage on a beach image via Shutterstock.
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