West Hollywood Bans Single-Use Plastic Bags

Approximately 500 Stores Will Be Affected By Ban

West Hollywood Bans Single-Use Plastic BagsThe City Council of West Hollywood, CA, has adopted an ordinance that will ban single-use plastic bags at newsstands, in retail and grocery stores, and in pharmacies beginning next year. Large stores (10,000 square feet or greater) must comply with the ban by February of 2013, while smaller retailers have a full year to eliminate single-use plastic bags. It's estimated by officials that approximately 500 stores will be affected by the ban.

"Local governments have been charged – I think rightfully so – to reduce the amount of waste we put in the waste system," said West Hollywood Mayor Jeffrey Prang. "The Grocers Association supported our ordinance, the chamber of commerce supported our ordinance, and it didn't have any opposition from the local merchants."

While banning single-use plastic bags, the West Hollywood ordinance allows stores to provide paper bags that are made with at least 40% post-consumer recycled content. Stores that offer these paper bags, though, must charge 10 cents for each one, a motivation for consumers to use more eco-friendly options, like reusable totes. As in other cities where similar laws have been passed, the West Hollywood ordinance excludes dry-cleaners, farmers markets and restaurants from the ban.

In 2007, San Francisco became the first major U.S. city to approve a single-use plastic bag ban, but since then, several California locales including Santa Monica, Long Beach, Pasadena and Los Angeles have followed suit. Environmental groups say California agencies spend $300 million every year to pick up and dispose of litter.