Big news! From a vote of 11-1 by the City Council, plastic grocery bags are now banned in Los Angeles. The ban would affect food stores, mini marts, and big retail chains such as Target and Wal-Mart. The ban will go into effect gradually, beginning on January 1, 2014, and be complete by July of the same year. Shoppers will have to bring their own bags or purchase 10-cent paper ones.
As always, the ban brought disbelief and admiration from a variety of parties. Many think that “If I pay money, I want a bag” and are incredulous at the consequences of forgetting their own bags. Some suggest that stores will lose business, and wholly reject the cost of buying reusable bags.
On the other hand, even more residents support the environmental reasons for doing away with plastic bags. While it may be an inconvenience at first, it seems that once people are used to the ban, it will “all be ok”.
By 2013, 30% of California’s population will be regulated by laws concerning paper and plastic bags. If Los Angeles businesses fail to comply, they would face a fine of $100, then $200, then $500 as their violations pile up. And there are concerns over the loss of jobs at bag manufacturing plants in the Los Angeles area.
The ban comes from a long road of anti-bag advocates lobbying all across California. Victories in Long Beach, Malibu and Santa Monica have spurred this win in Los Angeles. The coast in particular has been hard hit by the plastic bag industry, as marine life, birds, and other animals are negatively affected by the bags.
Despite the variety of opinions and concerns, Los Angeles city council members are confident that shoppers will adapt to the new bag rules, and enforcement will result in a change of ways that will send a message to the rest of the country and even the world.
By Alanna Scheinerman, Class of 2013