On Tuesday, the Los Angeles City Council voted 11-1 to fight the scourge of plastic bags at grocery stores. The new plastic bag ban will prohibit stores that sell perishable foods from handing out plastic grocery bags. Paper bags will bear a surcharge of ten cents, and customers are encouraged to use recyclable bags.
“We’ve seen plastic bags clogging our gutters, polluting our rivers and piling up on our beaches,” lamented Councilmember Jose Huizar. “The time for the City of Los Angeles to take action to protect our environment is now. And every big city in the nation can follow our lead.”
Every year in Los Angeles, two billion plastic bags are distributed. “By 2014, more than one-third of Californians — 13 million people — will live in communities that no longer have to deal with the scourge and cost of single use plastic grocery bags,” said Mark Murray, Executive Director of Californians Against Waste. The ban applies to all stores that earn more than $2 million per year.
Multiple studies have shown bacteria ranging from E. coli to norovirus to fecal coliform in recyclable bags. Researchers at University of Arizona sampled 84 bags from shoppers in LA, and found that over half were contaminated with harmful bacteria. Littering already carries a fine of a minimum of $250 in California.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).