Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Pasadena, Long Beach… What do all of these California cities have in common? They all ban plastic grocery bags. And soon, Los Angeles will be joining that list.
The City Council approved the ordinance 11-1 and the ban will go into place once signed by the mayor (either current Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa or Mayor-Elect Eric Garcetti, who takes office July 1st). The ordinance specifically bans single-use bags in any store that sells groceries and mandates that retailers charge customers 10 cents per bag unless they bring reusable tote bags. This will surely make a dent in the amount of trash around LA and in their landfills, especially considering the city uses over 2 billion single-use plastic bags a year, according to the council’s Environmental Impact Report.
Local environmental groups are especially joyful over the ordinance passing, following a similar statewide effort that was defeated less than a month ago.
“This is the biggest city in the nation to tackle the single-use bag addiction,” said Heal The Bay policy director Kirsten James to the Los Angeles Times. “It sends a strong signal to Sacramento that we need a statewide policy.”
The LA ordinance specifies that large grocery stores (those that make $2 million or more in gross annual sales or have 10,000 square feet of retail space) have until January 1, 2014, to phase out their single-use plastic bags. Smaller stores have until July 1, 2014.
Since the ordinance didn’t pass unanimously, the LA City Council will vote once again next week, but expectations are high that the outcome will be the same. When the council passes the ban again, it will move on to the mayor for a signature, putting it into effect.
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