Archive for category Recycling

L.A. County Passes Sweeping Ban on Plastic Bags

Thin plastic shopping bags

Image via Wikipedia

Care2 and the L.A. Times report that Los Angeles County has banned plastic grocery bags! With a 3-1 vote in favor of the measure, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed a sweeping ban on plastic grocery bags in unincorporated areas of the county.

The ban will affect nearly 1.1 million residents countywide and has been called one of the nation’s most aggressive environmental measures to date.

The official measure reads: “No store shall provide to any customer a plastic carryout bag.” Plastic bags that are used to hold fruit, vegetables or raw meat in order to prevent contamination with other grocery items will be exempt from the ban.

Grocers that continue to offer plastic bags will be required to charge customers 10 cents per bag, according to the ordinance. The revenue will be retained by the stores to purchase the paper bags and educate customers about the law.

Similar plastic bag bans passed in San Francisco and Malibu are less strict because they don’t involve a surcharge. Environmental advocates of banning plastic bags say these measures provide no incentive for consumers to switch to reusable cloth bags, the most eco-friendly option.

While it will be a challenge for those uneducated in the ways of recycling to get used to the plastic bag ban, L.A. County can draw on the recent experiences of the cities of San Francisco and Malibu who have already passed these ordinances. Consumers will become more aware of what they purchase and how they carry those items home.

For most consumers, I believe a small scavenger hunt around their homes and garages would easily reveal plenty of bags they can use for shopping, whether those are plastic bags from previous purchases, reusable cloth bags or even large gift bags. Those of us who already use reusable bags, often keep them in our cars, desks or somewhere handy in the home where they can easily be grabbed before one heads out the door to go shopping.

I hope consumers will learn to be more resourceful and use what they need instead of continuing to live in a society where everything is deemed disposable with little thought to the future of our planet and the creatures that inhabit it.

What was that noise? Did you hear it? Why yes, it was me shouting with joy from the rooftops! Please recycle, we’ve only got one Earth.

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