City of Los Angeles bans the sale of single-use plastic bags

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Since Jan. 1 2014, grocery store officials all over Los Angeles have banned the distribution of single-use plastic bags.  This new rule also applies to major grocery stores such as Ralph’s, Walmart and Target.  Stores now require consumers to either bring their own reusable bags or buy plastic bags at checkout.

The ban has already created new jobs for people in the reusable bag industry as well as lowered the amount of plastic bags polluting the environment.  The Los Angeles Times reported that in 2012, areas that had banned plastic bags saw a 90 percent decrease in bag consumption.  Since grocers all over L.A. are switching to reusable bags, the bags are required to measure up to set standards.  According to the statewide bill and L.A. ordinance, the bagsmust be usable for up to 125 times and carry a minimum of 22 pounds.

“I think we have all seen a push throughout the world to get rid of disposable items like these plastic bags,” said Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian to the Los Angeles Daily News.  “We use them for about 15 minutes and then it takes hundreds of years for them to break down.”

L.A. is the largest city in the country to eliminate the use of plastic bags in grocery stores.  Environmental reasons have prompted the change because of the billions of plastic bags that add waste to landfills nationwide.

According to the Huffington Post, stores that choose to not cooperate with the new regulations will be fined $100 on their first violation, $200 on the second violation and $500 on the third.  In July, the ban will extend to a wider range of retailers such as drugs stores, convenience stores and smaller grocery stores.

As more cities convert to a bag-free system, Los Angeles city officials speculate that the consumption of single-use plastic bags to decrease dramatically.  L.A. previously consumed billions of plastic bags each year and other major cities like L.A. are expected to follow suit and ban plastic bags.

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