Los Angeles passes plastic bag ban

By Brian Braiker, The Guardian
Thursday, May 24, 2012 12:13 EDT
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Plastic bags with reusable one via Jon Nightingale / Shutterstock
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The second largest city in the country has voted to adopt a ban on plastic bags in supermarket checkout lines.

The Los Angeles city council voted 13-1 on Wednesday to approve a policy that would ban single-use plastic bags, which will be phased out over the next 12 months at an estimated 7,500 stores, the Los Angeles Times reported.

After the year is up, retailers will be allowed to charge 10¢ for paper bags.

The ban was supported by clean water advocates, who found a spokeswoman in the actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who claimed discarded plastic bags are clogging the region’s landfills and making their way into the ocean.

The city’s program will be modeled after bag bans in 48 other California cities, including San Jose, San Francisco and Long Beach.

“My hope is that so few paper bags will be used as a result of this measure that the formal ban … on paper bags may not even be necessary,” said councilman Paul Koretz, who voted in favor of the ban.

City officials are slated to conduct a study in two years to determine whether the prohibition should be expanded to include paper.

Not everyone is celebrating Wednesday’s vote. Among the displeased was the American Progressive Bag Alliance, an organization representing the United States’ plastic bag manufacturing and recycling sector.

“Bag bans have not been proven to reduce litter,” writes Mark Daniels, the organization’s chair, in a statement.

“With this draconian bag ban, the city takes a simplistic approach that misses an opportunity to provide a more effective solution for consumers and the environment – programs that encourage greater recycling of plastic and paper bags and preserve jobs.”

© Guardian News and Media 2012

[Plastic bags with reusable one via Jon Nightingale / Shutterstock]

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