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30 June 2013


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Los Angeles Plastic Bag Ban

On Wednesday 26 June 2013 the outgoing mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa signed into law an ordinance that ban the use of single-use plastic bags in Los Angeles. 

The ban will take effect 1 January 2014 for stores that gross more than $2 million a year or are housed in more than 10,000 square feet.  Six Months later (1 July 2014) it goes into effect for smaller stores such as liquor stores and independent markets that carry limited groceries but have staples such as milk and bread.

An exception to the ban is the Women, Infants and Children program.

Customers will be required to provide their own re-usable bags when they visit stores, or pay 10 cents each for paper bags.  Stores are allowed to charge 10 cents for recyclable paper bags. 

Stores will be required to file quarterly reports on the number of paper bags given out, how much money the store receives for those bags and efforts to promote reusable bags.

To justify their push for the ban Activists said a plastic bag ban will lead to cleaner beaches, storm drains, rivers and other public spaces that tend to become the final resting places for the non-biodegradable bags.  It would also save the $2 million that the city spend each year to clean up plastic bag litter.

Small businesses will be impacted in several ways.  Stores face fines of up to $500 for defying the ban and handing out single-use bags.  Jobs will be lost by small businesses engaged in the manufacturing, and sale of plastic bags.  Also, a ban is seen as a tax on grocers because paper bags cost about 10 cents each, compared with 3 cents per plastic bag.  This could negatively impact their sales.

In 2009, the United States International Trade Commission reported that 102 billion plastic bags are used annually in the United States alone.

Some modern bags are made of vegetable-based bioplastics which can decay organically and prevent a build-up of toxic plastic bags in landfills and the natural environment.

A similar ban was being considered by the California legislature but failed by three votes.  One of the members voting against the measure claimed that the bill would cost her district to lose 500 jobs as a result of the ban.

Cities that currently have a ban include San Francisco, Solana Beach, Santa Monica and Portland.  Cities that are considering a ban include Sacramento, Chicago and Dallas are considering bans.  Attempt to ban plastic bags is growing throughout the nation.


Retail Merchants Association

By Owen Daniels













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