Last Update: Thursday, April 17, 2014

Plastic Bag Ban Kicks In Throughout Los Angeles PDF Print E-mail
Written by Alex Garcia   
Thursday, 02 January 2014 00:00

                                                                                        A.Garcia / SFVS

The sign outside the supermarket is plainly clear. “Plastic Bag Ban Effective January 1st,” it reads. The New Year means all residents of the city of Los Angeles will now have to take their reusable bags when they go to the supermarket because they will no longer put your groceries in a plastic bag. Starting on Jan. 1, large grocery stores and markets, among others, will no longer offer free plastic carryout bags to customers. Recyclable paper bags will be offered at a cost of $0.10 per bag.

“By replacing plastic bags with reusable ones, we can take a small but significant step forward in reducing Los Angeles’ waste,” said Councilmember Felipe Fuentes of the Seventh District, and chair of the Energy and Environment Committee during the launch of the Bring- Your-Own-Bag Campaign last month. “The Single-Use Carryout Bag Ordinance will not only have an immediate impact on the health of our environment, but will also support the city’s long-term goal of 90 percent waste diversion by 2025.” “When you consider that plastic bags clog our storm drains and sewers; pollute our streets, parks and beaches; and make their way into our river and ocean where they endanger and kill marine life, it only makes sense that we all do our part to preserve our environment by bringing our own bags to the market. It is a small inconvenience to pay to preserve the only environment we have,” said L.A. Sanitation Director Enrique C. Zaldivar.

But don’t count on having paper bags available much longer. City officials plan to review the ordinance in a few years to determine if those should be banned as well. Smaller stores that carry limited groceries, including liquor stores and independent markets, will become subject to the new law next July 1.

With this ordinance, Los Angeles becomes the largest city in the country to ban plastic bags. Officials estimate the city spends about $2 million a year cleaning up litter related to the non-biodegradable bags. While City Officials praise the new ordinance for the benefits it could have on the environment, the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA), a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization came out with a report this week noting that “bag bans are bad for the environment.” "The alternatives – paper bags and reusable bags – use more energy, use more resources, produce more greenhouse gases and produce more waste and pollution than plastic grocery bags," said Senior Fellow H. Sterling Burnett. "In short, plastic bags are the green alternative.

They save money, and they save the environment," Burnett added. The study examined six cities that have enacted plastic bag restrictions. Among the findings is that when San Francisco banned plastic bags in 2007, officials claimed that the ban in part would decrease the overall amount of garbage collected. In fact, garbage and recycling rates rose more than 78.6 percent in the city between 2005 and 2013.

The survey also found that spending for solid waste in Los Angeles County, whose bag ban became effective in 2011, rose 30.17 percent from budget year 2006-2007 to 2011-2012. Projected spending rose 5.9 percent from 2011-2012 to the adopted budget for 2012-2013. “None of the six cities I examined experienced any measurable savings from their taxes or bans on plastic grocery bags," said Burnett. "Proponents of plastic bag restrictions who claim that restrictions will reduce cities' solid waste costs should have to provide evidence to back up such claims, but this study indicates that they can't."

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 January 2014 18:50

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