LA becomes largest US city to ban plastic bags

LA becomes largest US city to ban plastic bags

This is a great day for the City of Los Angeles. The Los Angeles City Council just adopted a policy framework for banning single-use plastic bags. This makes it the largest city in the nation to adopt a policy to move toward removing these bags from our environment. As I wrote yesterday in my blog, the environmental and economic problems with these bags far outweigh any limited benefit they may have. Thus, the City Council made the right move in sending the city on its way to banning them in Los Angeles.

In developing this landmark program, the City Council took a measured and reasoned approach. The framework includes a six-month educational period of the ordinance where no ban is in place.  After that initial six months, larger stores must phase out single use plastic bags. Twelve months after adoption of the final ordinance, small stores will also ban these bags. For paper bags, retailers will be required to charge 10 cents per bag starting one year from today. In two years, a study will assess whether to ban outright paper bags as well. The City Council still needs to approve a final ordinance, including analyzing the environmental impacts of this policy, but it is my understanding that this will happen quickly.

The city has shown enormous leadership in passing this policy framework for a bag ban and Heal the Bay deserves a lot of credit for their role in advocating at the regional and state level.  As Councilmember Koretz noted in his closing remarks, hopefully this will spur other cities, states and countries to ban these bags that impose so much burden on our environment and communities.  Today marks a good step to making that dream a reality.   

This article originally appeared on the NRDC's Switchboard blog and is reprinted with permission. Photo of Los Angeles during rush hour by Kinetic Imagery via Shutterstock.

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