Los Angeles city councilman introduces motion to ban single-use paper, plastic bags; measure surpasses similar bans in other state jurisdictions that target plastic bags for bans and levy fees on paper bags

LOS ANGELES , September 7, 2011 () – A Los Angeles city councilman introduced a motion Sept. 6 to ban single-use paper and plastic bags in the city, the Los Angeles Times reported Sept. 7.

Councilman Paul Koretz is encouraging Los Angeles to go beyond other California jurisdictions that have imposed bans on plastic bags only while instituting a fee on paper bags. Koretz argues that paper bags are just as detrimental to the environment at plastic.

Koretz’s proposed ban includes a provision allowing retailers to sell or give away reusable tote bags or possibly face a fine. Small plastic bags for produce and meats would be exempted to help customers avoid cross-contamination.

Koretz asserts that should the ban become law, it will not only save retailers money, it will make them money over the long-term.

The Los Angeles Times reported that retailers prefer bans and fees be dealt with at the state level rather than locally for the sake of consistency. The Sacramento, California-based California Grocers Association endorsed the bill, the Times noted.

Environmentalists such as Santa Monica, California-based Heal the Bay’s Kirsten James, the group’s water quality director, are happy with the proposal and hope that it leads to similar statewide action. James said that the group hopes that the growing number of local actions will be a “wake-up call” to lawmakers in Sacramento.

The Los Angeles city council sought data from the Bureau of Sanitation in 2008 regarding the growing use of the plastic bags in the city. Officials reported that 2.3 billion plastic bags are issued in Los Angeles annually while only 5% of those bags are recycled. Four hundred million paper bags are used annually in the city with a recycling rate of 21%, the Times reported.

The primary source of this article is the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, California, Sept. 7, 2011.

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