The Los Angeles City Council moved forward Wednesday with a plan to end the use of paper and plastic bags at supermarket checkout lines over the course of a year, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The ordinance will force shoppers to bring more environmental bags with them to shop. The council still needs to draft the phase-out of the bags but, once the ordinance is in affect, city officials will provide six months’ warning to stores—including supermarkets and other retailers that sell food—that plastic bags will no longer be permitted, the report says.
The bag ban will effect 7,500 stores in Los Angeles and only ban the bags with handles that shoppers are commonly given at checkout stands—not smaller produce or newspaper bags.
There are more than 30 municipalities in California that have banned plastic shopping bags.
Mark Daniels, VP of sustainability and environmental policy for Hilex Poly, a U.S. manufacturer and recycler of plastic bags, and chair of the American Progressive Bag Alliance, released the following statement:
“We are not surprised by the result of today’s (April 4) vote by the Energy and Environment Committee to rush toward a plastic and paper bag ban. The proposed policy will have no real impact on litter, instead it will only force residents to purchase less environmentally friendly alternatives like reusable bags, nearly all of which are not recyclable, are less sanitary, are made in China using foreign oil, and often contain heavy metals. Worse, bag bans inflict a regressive tax on the disadvantaged, impose a burden on small businesses, and are a threat to local manufacturing jobs. More than 1,000 workers in the Los Angeles area alone rely on quality jobs in the plastic bag manufacturing industry and urge the city council to consider the impact this legislation will have on them and their families.”
Councilman Paul Koretz said he expected that Crown Poly—a Los Angeles plastic bag manufacturer—would need to eliminate only a small number of positions.
“I’m the last one to allow for layoffs in L.A. city, and I fight them hard,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “But I’ve never stood and said that if a job doesn’t make sense anymore, that we’ve got to keep that job.”