Los Angeles bans the bag!

  • Published on May 23rd, 2012


ban the bagThey did it! The Los Angeles City Council voted 13-1 to phase out plastic bags over a 6-to-12-month period.

What’s so bad about plastic bags? They guzzle petroleum, are used once, and after they’re tossed they stick around for bagmonster photo by Tara Crow for Heal the Baythousands of years – trashing the landscape, strangling wildlife, and generally being icky. Acording to Heal The Bay, 2.3 billion of them are used and then dumped every year in LA. Well, not anymore.

“It’s great for the environment, great for the future, and great for our beaches and our ocean,” said Council member Ed Reyes. “It’s a win for everybody.”

There was no mention of World Turtle Day, although sea turtles are one of the many marine animals that have been found strangled by the plastic bags that are choking the oceans. So the world’s turtles have one extra thing to celebrate today.

LA is also instituting a 10-cent fee on paper bags, a measure which has cut use in other cities. “My hope is that so few paper bags will be used as a result of this measure that the formal ban … on paper bags may not even be necessary,” said Councilman Paul Koretz.

The California legislature nearly passed a state-wide ban last year, and a patchwork of cities and counties, including San Francisco (which pioneered the ban in 2007) Santa Monica, San Jose, Long Beach, and Santa Barbara, which just voted this past week.

But even with the lucrative LA market gone, bag manufacturers aren’t likely to give up on the California market – which still runs through an estimated 12 billion bags a year. They called the bill a “job-killer” (of course), and issued ominous warnings of potential health hazards from re-usable bags. After all, it’s so much more sanitary to take a fresh, pristine bag from some factory in china covered in god-only-knows-what possible chemicals, and when you’re done with it dump it on the beach…

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(Turtle photo by Ban the Bagspdx; Bag monster photo AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike Some rights reserved by Heal the Bay)

About the Author

Jeremy Bloom is the Editor of RedGreenAndBlue. He lives in New York, where he combines his passion for the environment with his passion for film, and is working on making the world a better place.