The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday approved a ban on plastic bags at grocery stores.
The council voted 11-1 to ban plastic carryout bags at all stores that sell perishable food items, including supermarkets, some big-box chains, pharmacies and convenience stores. The ordinance also requires these establishments to charge customers 10 cents for each paper bag used.
The goal of the ordinance is to reduce plastic bag waste in area landfills and waterways and encourage customers to switch to reusable bags. Many plastic bags do not degrade swiftly.
Los Angeles becomes the largest city in the state to adopt a plastic bag ban; Los Angeles County, Culver City, Santa Monica and several other cities in the county have previously adopted similar bans. Repeated attempts to pass a statewide ban on plastic bags have failed due to opposition from business groups and plastic bag manufacturers, including Crown Poly Inc. in Huntington Park.
The ordinance goes to a second council vote next week and then to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for his signature. After that, large stores will be banned from using plastic carryout bags starting on Jan. 1, 2014. The ban extends to smaller stores on July 1, 2014. Plastic bags used for produce items would be exempted from the ban.
Stores are subject to fines up to $500 for each bag distributed to customers.