West Hollywood Plastic Bag Ban Begins

Aimed At Retailers Larger Than 10,000 Square Feet

West Hollywood Plastic Bag Ban BeginsAnother California community – this time West Hollywood – has begun enforcing a single-use plastic bag ban at retail stores. The ban, which was approved last summer, went into effect yesterday at retailers that are larger than 10,000 square feet. Smaller stores have until August 20 to comply with the new ordinance that affects everything from grocery stores to pharmacies to newsstands.

"Local governments have been charged, I think rightfully so, to reduce the amount of waste we put in the waste system," West Hollywood Mayor Jeffrey Prang has said.

As part of the law, retailers are also required to charge customers 10 cents for each paper bag provided. Paper bags that are used must also contain 40% post-consumer recycled content. The ordinance offers exemptions for dry-cleaners, restaurants and farmers markets.

Besides West Hollywood, single-use plastic bags are banned in several California communities like San Francisco, Pasadena, Santa Monica and Long Beach. Los Angeles approved a ban in May of last year that involves a gradual phase-out. Despite the growing number of single-use bans in California, officials say 19 billion non-reusable plastic bags are used in the state each year. It's estimated that government agencies in California spend $300 million each year to pick up and dispose of litter, including plastic bags.