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Los Angeles Plastic Bag Ban Takes Effect
Vol. 831 
July 7, 2011

A crackdown on plastic bags could spell good news for West Coast distributors. A ban on plastic bags took effect in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles on July 1, and shops in the area will no longer be able to offer plastic bags to customers. Shoppers will have the option of paying 10 cents for each recyclable paper bag they use to carry home groceries – or they could use totes, canvas bags and the like.

As such, distributors can capitalize on sales of reusable bags, which have become so popular in the promotional market. In fact, in preparation for the new plastic bag ban, L.A. County has already given away hundreds of free canvas bags. Additionally, distributors could pitch everyone from grocery chains to corner stores on the benefits of selling/providing customers with bags that bare the company's logo.

Approved in November, the ban aims to reduce by 50% the number of plastic bags that end up littering landfills, river beds and other areas. The ban is effective at large grocery chains today and will be expanded to cover every store subject to the ordinance by January. The prohibition on plastic will not apply to restaurant carryout operations or food trucks.

Heal the Bay, an environmental group, estimates that California spends $25 million annually collecting and disposing of plastic bags. Only 5% are recycled. Some area cities, including Santa Monica and Malibu, have instituted similar bans. "It's our way of encouraging everyone to do what's right for the environment," says L.A. Supervisor Gloria Molina.

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