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LA Bans Plastic Bags at Retail Establishments

Legislation & Regulations, Plastics

Los Angeles becomes the largest city to ban plastic bags at retail establishments.

Recycling Today Staff June 5, 2012

The Los Angeles City Council has voted 13 to 1 in favor of phasing out plastic bags over the next 16 months at an estimated 7,500 stores in the city. The result will be shoppers will need to either bring reusable bags or purchase paper bags for 10 cents each.

The vote is the culmination of a Los Angeles Board of Public Works report from Sept. 16, 2011, that sought to restrict the use of plastic bags at retailers.

According to the city council, the regulation requires:

  • Retailers to provide reusable bags to customers for sale or at no charge;
  • Upon adoption of the project's related ordinance, the ban takes effect for large retailers (as specified in the board’s report) which shall include a public education component; and
  • Upon adoption of the project's related ordinance, provide for a six months grace period for small retailers, which shall include a public education component and allow retailers to phase-out product stock. The ban takes effect for small retailers upon completion of the grace period.

The city council also approved a citywide policy to examine a project that would ban paper single-use carryout bags in specified retailers, subject to the following implementation schedule:

  • Upon the adoption of the ordinance, provide for a six-month grace period for retailers during which paper bags that are 100 percent recyclable and have at least 40 percent post-consumer content shall be provided at no cost to consumers for the purposes of carrying out their purchases, this period shall include a public education component.
  • Upon the completion of the six-month grace period, retailers shall charge 10 cents per paper bag for six months. Retailers may use this period to phase-out product stock.
  • Upon the completion of the 10-cent-per-paper-bag period, the ban takes effect for retailers.

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