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No More Plastic Bags in the City of Los Angeles Citywide Ban Takes Effect July 1 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Alex Garcia, Sun Contributing Writer   
Thursday, 26 June 2014 03:00

Angelenos began the New Year with supermarkets and big chain stores doing away with plastic bags, as part of a measure approved last year by the Los Angeles City Council.

Now that ban is expanding to pharmacies, 7-Eleven, convenience stores and any small retailer that sells groceries.

“Starting July 1, there will be no more free plastic bags from convenience stores, mom-andpop stores, AM-PM’s, liquor stores or any small store that sells groceries like eggs and bread,” said Jackie David, public information director for the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation.

David added those stores will still have recyclable paper bags available for purchase at $.10 cents a bag. The only stores that will still have plastic bags are clothing stores.

The ban is part of a measure approved by the City in June 2013 to prevent pollution and having streets littered with plastic bags. If stores fail to comply with the law, they can be fined anywhere between $100 and $500.

David expects no more uproar to the extension of a ban that most people have already embraced positively.

“The first two weeks in January were difficult for the supermarkets. There were a lot of complaints, but now everyone knows. People are used to it by now,” she said.

Each year, California uses 19 million plastic bags, two million alone in the City of Los Angeles. The average time it takes for a plastic bag to decompose completely is 1,000 years. According to CalRecycle, only about five percent of plastic bags are recycled in California.

David said that she’s visited more than 250 stores in the San Fernando Valley, including those in Sylmar, Pacoima, Arleta and Van Nuys, and “the general sense from stores and customers is they know that this is coming. Some of the stores have already stopped giving away bags and generally we've had a positive response.”

“We’ve been letting the stores know about the ban early so they don’t order plastic bags anymore,” David said. “Many of the stores are also concerned about the environment and not having to give away bags also cuts into their bottom line.”

She added that liquor stores will not give away free paper bags for liquor purchase like they’ve done so in the past.

“Many people want to get them so they can go outside and drink; that's illegal anyway,” David said. “Now they won’t get those bags. This ban also covers liquor stores.”

Starting next week, Los Angeles officials are embarking on a new publicity effort visiting many stores in the San Fernando Valley to further explain the expansion of the plastic bag ban.