Ahead of a single-use plastic bag ban that will begin on January 1, the city of Los Angeles is handing out free reusable totes to residents. While some of the tote bags will be produced overseas, many will be manufactured by nonprofit groups in southern California. Officials plan to give away up to one million bags through the initiative. “Angelenos will be carrying these around for decades,” said Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz.
According to officials, it will cost about $5 to manufacture each of the locally-made bags, which are being constructed from recycled or repurposed materials. A group called Green Vets L.A. is manufacturing the USA-made totes out of donated material, while Homeboy Industries will screen-print logos. So far about $25,000 has been donated to help fund the giveaway program.
“We will be creating good green jobs for some of the most worthy charities in the city,” said Koretz. “I know the Bureau of Sanitation and the California Grocers Association will be giving out hundreds of thousands of bags, but we want everyone to benefit.”
This past summer, Los Angeles became the largest city in the U.S. to ban single-use plastic bags. The legislation will prohibit plastic bags in supermarkets and large drug stores starting in January, while smaller shops must comply with the law beginning on July 1, 2014. Stores will be allowed to sell paper bags for 10 cents apiece, although the long-term goal of the ordinance is to encourage people to shop with reusable totes.
“This has been a cultural shift in our city,” said Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian. “This will be a better city when we are without plastic bags.”