Largest U.S. City Bans Plastic Bags

This past June, the Los Angeles City Council approved a new ordinance that would ban plastic bags at convenience stores, pharmacies, grocery stores, and certain retail shops throughout the city.

The decision to implement a ban goes back to 2012 then the same City Council approved the ordinance to eliminate plastic bags in grocery stores. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is fully expected to sign and approve the new law.

When the ordinance goes into effect, Los Angeles will become the largest city in the United States to enact a plastic bag ban. There are over thirteen million California residents living in the area. Combined with other municipalities in the state, by 2014 over one third of all California residents will live or work in an area where plastic grocery bags are banned. The city of Los Angeles is home to more people than the total population of most other states in the country. Only Florida, New York, Texas, and California have total populations greater than Los Angeles.

Under the new law, starting January 1, 2014, stores will no longer be allowed to distribute plastic bags to customers. A gradual roll-out of the rule is expected providing smaller shops additional time to deplete the inventory of bags and obtain cost-effective alternatives. Fines for non-compliance up to $500 will be enforced. Paper and multi-use plastic bags are still allowed and plastic bags for restaurants and produce are still allowed.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Plastic bag bans are sweeping the country and it’s only a matter of time before it’s taken up by your municipality. Take the time to investigate options now and plan ahead. Being seen as a recycling and reuse leader will gain you good press now and put you ahead of the competition when new laws are enacted!