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Plastic bag ban approved by Los Angeles City Council

America’s second largest city is on the verge of banning single-use plastic grocery bags.


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June 19, 2013 by Canadian Plastics

America’s second largest city is on the verge of banning single-use plastic grocery bags.

The Los Angeles City Council has taken the first step towards making the city the largest U.S. municipality to ban plastic bags at the grocery store, voting 11-1 to give preliminary approval to the measure, which would outlaw plastic while allowing consumers to buy a paper bag for a set price of 10 cents as a means of encouraging them to bring a re-usable sack.

The rules would apply to businesses from supermarkets to drug stores that sell groceries, and the plan has the support of both environmentalists and the California Grocers Association.

City officials estimate the ordinance would eliminate 2 billion plastic bags a year after if it goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2014, for large stores and six months later for smaller establishments such as convenience and liquor stores.

It’s not quite a done deal, however: the measure must first return to the City Council next week for another vote so it can be officially adopted. If approved and signed into law by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, large grocery stores will have to phase out single-use plastic grocery bags by Jan. 1.

Not surprisingly, the news was criticized by some in the plastics industry. Mark Daniels, chairman of the American Progressive Bag Alliance, noted that plastic bag makers and recyclers employ 30,800 people nationwide, including about 2,000 in California. “By voting to ban plastic bags and impose a 10-cent tax on paper bags, the Los Angeles City Council has sent a terrible message to manufacturers, small businesses and working families in the City of Los Angeles,” Daniels said in a written statement. “This ordinance has been sold to the public through junk science in the name of the environment, but bag bans and taxes don’t help the environment – they make things worse…by pushing residents towards higher carbon footprint products. Reusable bags require significantly more water and energy to produce than plastic bags and emit more greenhouse gases in their lifecycle. Furthermore, reusable bags are shipped from overseas, are predominantly made from foreign oil, and cannot be recycled.”