A. City Council Finalizes Ban on Plastic Bags
becomes biggest municipality in U.S.
enact curbs on single-use bags
By Matthew King
On June 18, the Los Angeles City
Council today finalized a sweeping ban on the distribution of single-use,
plastic shopping bags at grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies and
other select retail stores that sell some perishable items within city limits.
Los Angeles is now the largest city in
the U.S. to ban single-use plastic bags. Under the ordinance, the city took a
phased–in approach for curbing the environmental and fiscal waste associated
with the distribution, collection and disposal of single-use bags.
With a historic vote, one in four
Californians now live in a city that has enacted curbs against single-use bags.
Seventy-six state municipalities are covered by ordinances banning plastic
single-use bags and most also deter paper single-use bags. Dozens more are
considering banning plastic bags in the near future.
The ordinance goes into effect Jan. 1,
2014 for the large stores, and July 1, 2014, for the smaller stores, thereby
allowing the city’s 4 million residents to gradually transition into the
practice of bringing reusable shopping bags to local retailers. These effective
dates will also allow retailers to get rid of their inventory and prepare for
compliance with the ordinance.
Nearly 2 billion single-use plastic
bags and 400 million paper bags are distributed annually in Los Angeles,
according to city officials.
Environmental group Heal the Bay has
led the legislative fight to enact a bag ban for more than six years as part of
its ongoing efforts to tackle plastic pollution throughout Southern California.
”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.
For more information and how to get
involved in Heal the Bay’s work, visit: healthebay.org