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Los Angeles Says No To Plastic Bags

Los Angeles Says No To Plastic Bags

By a vote of 13 to 1, the Los Angeles City Council has approved a ban on plastic bags at supermarket checkout lines. Over the next 12 months, some 7,500 stores must phase out plastic bags.

After a four-month environmental review of the bag ban, an ordnance will go into effect. Larger stores will then have six months to phase out the use of the bags while smaller ones will have twelve months. Retailers must charge 10 cents per paper bag starting one year from the date on which the plastic bag ban goes into effect.

48 other California cities including San Francisco and San Jose already have plastic bag bans. Los Angeles’s decision to “just say no” to plastic is of huge significance, as it it the US’s second-largest city.

Environmentalists and clean-water advocates are hailing the ban as, indeed, a major victory in stopping the scourge that plastic bags have become, adding to the trash that clogs landfills, waterways and the ocean. The Los Angeles Times quotes attorney H. David Nahai, a former top executive at the Department of Water and Power:

Plastic harms our environment. It is a threat to the coastal economy. It is a danger to marine life and it is an unconscionable burden to taxpayers who have to foot the bill for cleanups year after year.

Plastic bag manufacturers have objected to the ban, arguing that it destroys jobs.

While the City Council steered clear of an additional ban on paper bags, Councilman Paul Koretz noted that, in two years, city officials would conduct a study to consider banning the use of paper bags, too. According to Jennie R. Romer of plasticbaglaws.org, “Los Angeles County’s 10-cent fee on paper bags has led to a 94% reduction in the use of those bags.”

Could a plastic bag ban in the US’s largest city, the New York, be next?

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Photo by Julian Stallabrass

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55 comments

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11:01AM PDT on Jul 3, 2013

There is a plastic bag tax here in Ireland, but a total ban would be better

9:00AM PDT on Jul 3, 2013

"I'd like to share a revelation that I've had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you're not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet."
Agent Smith to Morpheus in Matrix

8:49AM PDT on Jul 3, 2013

EXCELLENT NEWS!!

12:20PM PDT on Aug 3, 2012

I just wish people would think this through. Why not make them recyclable like plastic bottles? Charge a redemption/deposit fee (with a redemption fee stamp on each) instead of a straight fee and people will start picking them up off the streets as well

3:03PM PDT on Jun 18, 2012

Hi Kristina,
Just wanted to know if you would like to publish your articles in a weekly magazine based in Vancouver, BC.

Please let me know what you think.

Jae

7:35PM PDT on Jun 11, 2012

i hope this includes ALL plastic bags (produce, etc.), not just the ones you get at the checkout.

9:48AM PDT on Jun 2, 2012

I hate plastic bags and try very hard to avoid them; at elast when I do get them I make sure they get recycled

7:46AM PDT on May 28, 2012

Hoping Sacramento will get on board.

6:37PM PDT on May 26, 2012

I live in Los Angeles, and I am so happy that this passed.

Now we need to get rid of Mylar balloons that people release into the air, and that land in the ocean. I went on a whale watching trip, last week-end, and was horrified to see Mylar balloons floating in the water, miles from land!

4:46AM PDT on May 26, 2012

Well done but from what I've seen New York is plastic bag dependent. I was looked at like a crazy person for choosing to carry a couple of large heavy bottles rather than use a bag -personally I find it easier without one anyway. My fiance refused to help me since I declined the bags but my concscience and fingers were nicely intact -BAN THEM EVERYWHERE!

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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches and writes about ancient Greek and Latin and is Online Advocacy and Marketing... more
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