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Los Angeles City Council votes to ban plastic bags

June 18, 2013

The Los Angeles City Council today voted to ban single-use plastic grocery bags.

Another vote to finalize the ban is scheduled for next week. If that is approved, and the bill is signed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, large grocery stores will have to phase out single-use plastic grocery bags by Jan. 1.

The law will apply to convenience and liquor stores by July 1, 2014.

According to Californians Against Waste, Los Angeles will become the largest city in the country and 77th jurisdiction in the California to adopt an ordinance to phase out plastic grocery bags.

Chicago's City Council also debated a plastic bag ban today, but took no action.

The vote in Los Angeles was not a surprise. In May 2012, the council voted 13-1 to ask the City Attorney to draw up a bag ban ordinance.

In the meantime, the California Legislature took up an ordinance that would have banned plastic bags throughout the state. That proposal, however, fell short in the state Senate.

Californians Against Waste put out a statement today saying that although the state Legislature failed to pass a ban on plastic bags, the action in Los Angeles shows that "the campaign to eliminate single-use plastic packaging and waste is succeeding and will continue."

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. A tax on consumers is hurtful and, worse, a ban on plastic bags threatens the jobs of the 1,000 hard-working employees of Los Angeles area plastic bag manufacturers."