Los Angeles has made history by becoming the largest city in the U. S. to approve a ban on plastic bags at supermarket checkout lines. This comes as a huge victory to environmentalists who have fought hard for this advancement and will be a game changer for how L. A. residents shop.
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.
A long time in the making, this ban is the result of years of campaigning by clean-water advocates who said it would reduce the amount of trash in landfills, as well as in the region’s waterways and the ocean. They estimate that Californians use 12 billion plastic bags a year and that less than 5% of the state’s plastic bags are recycled.
The L. A. ban is just another great step forward for California, adding to plastic bag restrictions already in San Jose, San Francisco and Long Beach.
San Francisco approved the state’s first plastic bag ban in 2007. Despite some initial resistance, people have gotten used to bringing their own bags, said David Assmann, a manager in San Francisco’s environment department. “I think it’s become part of the culture here,” he said.
Once the plastic bag ban ordinance is enacted, larger stores will have six months to stop handing out plastic bags and smaller markets will have 12 months. After that, retailers would be required to charge 10 cents for each paper bag they provide to customers.
“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 initially had hoped to prohibit paper as well.
This momentousness move for Los Angeles has already received a great deal of support and praise from many people in the online community, including some celebrities.
Actress Rosario Dawson tweeted early today, “#historicday “@EnvCalifornia: HUGE THANKS to each of you for helping to pass today’s historic plastic bag ban in L.A.!!!””
The Ian Somerhelder Foundation added on their twitter, “Awesome! Which city is going to be next!?! – Plastic Bag Ban In LA Approved By City Council!”
Here in Ontario, Canada, we have had a $0.10 fee on all plastic bags in grocery stores for a couple of years. It would be great to see Canadian governments embrace the attitude of California and move towards a complete ban!