Banning the use of plastic bags at supermarkets

AM38GT Man looking at bill in grocery store. Image shot 2007. Exact date unknown.

The City of Los Angeles on May 23, 2012 adopted a resolution authorizing the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on the proposed ordinance banning the use of plastic bags at supermarkets. If adopted the City of Los Angeles will be the largest city in the U.S. to ban use of plastic bags at supermarkets. Los Angeles is home to over 7,500 such supermarkets and therefore, the proposed ordinance will have a huge impact. The ordinance proposed to phase out the use of plastic bags within 16 months of the adoption of the ordinance.

The proposed ordinance is a direct result of the efforts of clean water advocates who are fighting to reduce plastic waste in landfills, water ways and the ocean. Various estimates indicate that Los Angeles use approximately 2.7 billion plastic bags a year and less than 5 percent are recycled. The opponents of the ordinance blocked an earlier attempt indicating that a ban will lead to killing jobs in the City. These activists were successful in 2010 stalling an effort for a statewide ban in California.

Statewide cities of San Jose, San Francisco, Santa Monica, Long Beach and others are currently bans the use of plastic bags.