L.A. Approves Ban on Plastic Grocery Bags

L.A. shopper

By//Andrea Watson

Shoppers in L.A. will possibly have to substitute plastic bags with a new material now that City Council members voted 11-1, Tuesday, on banning them.

The approved ordinance would fine city grocers  an unspecified amount for using them during check out. There would also be a 10-cent charge for each paper bag used. Council members hope this will encourage shoppers to bring reusable bags to the store in efforts to save the environment.

“We’ve seen plastic bags clogging our gutters, polluting our rivers and piling up on our beaches,” Councilmember José Huizar said in a statement to CBSLA. “The time for the City of Los Angeles to take action to protect our environment is now. And every big city in the nation can follow our lead.”

Just about two billion single-use plastic bags and 400 million paper bags are given each year in Los Angeles, according to Heal the Bay, an environmental organization, CBSLA reports.

The ban would go into effect Jan. 1, 2014, for stores profiting more than $2 million a year. Stores falling below that amount have until July 2014.

San Francisco became the first major U.S. city to ban plastic bags in large grocery stores. Other cities in California have adopted similar bans. This year Italy became the first European country to place a nationwide embargo.

According to the Plastic Bag Ban Report, 13 other state legislatures introduced bills this year that would prohibit the use of plastic bags.

City Council will meet June 25, for a final vote.