Los Angeles Plastic Bag Ban Goes Into Effect

Paper Bags Will Cost 10 Cents Each

LA Plastic Bag BanAs of January 1, Los Angeles will become the largest city in the United States to implement a ban on plastic bags. Consumers shopping in supermarkets and stores in Los Angeles that are larger than 10,000 square feet or have more than $2 million in annual sales will have to bring their own reusable bags or pay 10 cents for each paper bag they need. Beginning July 1, the bag law will apply to smaller stores such as mini-marts, as well.

“I think we have all seen a push throughout the world to get rid of disposable items like these plastic bags,” said Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian. “We use them for about 15 minutes and then it takes hundreds of years for them to break down. In the United States, we use about 200,000 plastic bags every hour. And the city has to spend millions to clean up the damage caused by the bags through litter or clogging up storm drains or in the water. We shouldn’t be squandering that money, which can be spent on other things.”

Los Angeles, which is one of about 90 cities or counties in California alone that have passed plastic bag ordinances, has also been working to educate residents of the coming changes. The city’s Bureau of Sanitation has been handing out nearly 500,000 reusable bags and hosting a series of events leading up to the January 1 change. “There is a need for education and we know there are going to be people who come into the stores who will be caught by surprise,” said Enrique Zaldivar, head of Los Angeles’ sanitation department. “There are always going to be people who have not heard about it or thought it was coming later.”

Large supermarkets in the city are also counting on reusable tote bags to help educate their customers. “We will do reusable bag giveaways around the launch of the ban and we will be reminding customers to bring bags on their next shopping trip,” said Kendra Doyel, spokeswoman for the Ralphs grocery chain.