Los Angeles has become the largest city in the United States to ban plastic bags.
The Los Angeles City Council voted May 23 by a 13-1 vote on the ban. In the first phase large-chain supermarket and pharmacies will stop offering single-use plastic bags in six months. Six months later convenience stores will do the same, says Mark Murray, executive director for Californians Against Waste, in an interview.
“Now we have 49 cities or counties [in California] that have voted to ban bags,” Murray said. “That will reduce 2.7 billion bags.” He estimates California generates 14 billion bags annually.
By contrast, recycling has diverted only about 3 percent of the bags. “A ban is much more successful than five years of effort with recycling,” Murray says.
Twelve more California jurisdictions are poised to adopt bag bans by summer, he adds.
In response to the vote, Mark Daniels, chairman of the American Progressive Bag Alliance, an organization representing the United States' plastic bag manufacturing and recycling sector, made the following statement: "The Los Angeles City Council has signaled all along that it would bring a retail bag ban to a vote, so we are not surprised, but are disappointed by the council's decision to effectively disregard the facts and impose a misguided policy to ban plastic and paper bags. 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. At a 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.“
"By voting to ban plastic shopping bags, the City of Los Angeles put in motion a misguided and onerous policy that threatens the jobs of hundreds of Angelenos employed by the industry, and nearly 2,000 statewide, while pushing residents to less environmentally friendly reusable bags which are produced overseas and cannot be recycled. Los Angeles residents should be further concerned as this ordinance also calls for a regressive, hidden tax to be imposed without voter approval.
"Singling out and banning one product does not reduce litter and with this bag ban, the city chose to take a simplistic approach that takes away consumer choice instead of pursuing meaningful programs that encourage greater recycling of plastic bags and wraps, while preserving jobs."