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LA City Council to vote on banning plastic bags; charging for paper ones

By Hayley Fox
Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2012, at 08:14AM
flickr via mtsofan

City Council will vote on banning plastic bags in the city of L.A.

The L.A. City Council is set to vote on Wednesday on an ordinance that would ban the use of plastic single-use bags and implement a 10 cents charge for paper ones.

The Energy and Environment Committee voted in support of a proposed bag ban in April, and a modified version of that will be on the table today.

“Working with my colleagues, I’m proud of the work we did in committee and I look forward to adopting this legislation in City Council, which will go a long way in keeping single-use plastic bags out of our landfills, rivers and oceans,” councilman José Huizar said in a statement.

If passed, the ordinance would give large retailers six months to phase out plastic bags; small retailers would have a year to do the same. All retailers would have to begin charging 10 cents per paper bag within a year after the ordinance passed.

KPCC reports that of the 75 communities across the country that have prohibited plastic bags, two-thirds of them are in California. Some ban supporters say that if the measure passes in L.A. it may set an example for other cities to do the same.

“L.A. is the largest city [in California] so it will be a huge success if L.A. moves forward with a bag ban,” Sarah Sikich of Heal the Bay told KPCC. “ I hope it sends a message to the rest of the state of California since so many local smaller cities have adopted some sort of bag ban.”

But the American Progressive Bag Alliance (APBA), an organization that represents plastic bag manufacturers and recyclers in the U.S., says the bag ban may cost a lot of people their jobs.

"By voting to move forward with this ban, the City of Los Angeles will place an onerous policy on its residents that puts the jobs of hundreds of Angelenos at risk who work in the bag manufacturing and recycling sector," said Mark Daniels, chair of the APBA, in a statement. "At time when we should be creating more manufacturing jobs, this ban takes them away, while pushing people to imported reusable bags which are produced overseas and are a less-environmentally friendly option.

If the ban passes, it will require a progress report from the Bureau of Sanitation after two years. They will then make recommendations on how to change or expand the program.

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