L.A. OKs Ban on Plastic Bags at Checkout
Council also imposes a 10-cent fee on paper totes. The law will be phased in over the next 16 months.
May 24, 2012 | Source: Los Angeles Times | by David Zahniser and Abby Sewell
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Los Angeles became the largest city in the nation to approve a ban on plastic bags at supermarket checkout lines, handing a hard-fought victory to environmentalists and promising to change the way Angelenos do their grocery shopping.
The City Council voted 13 to 1 to phase out plastic bags over the next 16 months at an estimated 7,500 stores, meaning shoppers will need to bring reusable bags or purchase paper bags for 10 cents each.
The ban came after years of campaigning by clean-water advocates who said it would reduce the amount of trash in landfills, the region’s waterways and the ocean. They estimate Californians use 12 billion plastic bags a year and that less than 5% of the state’s plastic bags are recycled.
Los Angeles becomes the latest in a string of California cities – including San Jose, San Francisco and Long Beach – to ban plastic bags.
Plastic bag bans across California vary in scale, with some applying to all retailers and restaurants, and others covering only supermarkets. Some are silent on paper bags while others, like Los Angeles County’s, require markets to charge customers who want to use paper bags.
Officials in some cities with bag bans hail the program as a success.
Santa Monica’s plastic bag ban has been in place since September. “There’ve been no citations necessary to give out,” said Josephine Miller, a city environmental analyst. “No stores have gone out of business.”