Los Angeles moves toward ban on plastic bags

Published on: Jun 19, 2013

The Los Angeles (Cal.) City Council has voted 12-1 to ban the use of plastic grocery bags.

The ban would apply to convenience stores, supermarkets and large retailers, such as Target Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., that sell perishable foods and would prohibit those stores from handing out plastic bags, with fines for violations of $100-500. 

The ordinance would also require shoppers to bring their own reusable bags or pay 10 cents per bag for paper bags.

It would become effective Jan. 1 for large stores and July 1 for smaller stores.

Because the vote, taken on June 18, was not unanimous, a second vote will be taken next week.

Proponents of the ban estimated that 2 billion plastic bags are handed out in the city every year and said the bags damage storm systems and harm wildlife.

Plastic bag manufacturers said the ban will cost jobs and pose a health risk because reusable bags are prone to bacteria. However, sanitation authorities said consumers need only to follow the cleaning instructions that come with reusable bags.

Los Angeles County and the California cities of San Francisco and Santa Monica already have bans in place, but a measure to ban plastic bags in food stores failed in the California legislature last month.