Los Angeles banning plastic bags now, paper later

May 16, 2012

By Brian Calle and Josephine Djuhana

Paper or plastic? Residents of Los Angeles soon may no longer hear that question at grocery checkout stands as the City of Angels has taken steps to ban certain grocery bags, effectively determining the kinds of bags shoppers are allowed to use when carrying groceries.

Recently Los Angeles’ City Council committee on Energy and Environment unanimously passed a recommendation to effectively ban the use of plastic bags within the city. Arguing that the decision would encourage residents to use reusable, “earth-friendly” shopping bags instead, the committee moved to prohibit more than 7,000 stores in Los Angeles from giving customers plastic bags for their purchased items. Additionally, grocery markets are required to charge customers 10 cents for paper bags; within six months, paper bags will be banned as well, if the plan goes through.

Based on the recommendation, the City Council is expected to vote on the ordinance in the coming weeks.

The plastic bag manufacturing industry supports more than 2,000 employees in Los Angeles alone. Workers at Crown Poly, a plastic bag manufacturer, protested the ban, stating that the move would result in dozens of unnecessary layoffs. Cathy Browne, general manager at Crown Poly, said, “Banning our product will harm our company and could put our local industry out of business and put these long-term employees on your unemployment rolls.” Elicia Ortiz, a single mom of three, stated that her job at Crown allowed her “to provide for her family” and help with medical costs for her special needs daughter. Their protests fell on deaf ears.

Other bans

The committee’s move was largely expected considering other unincorporated cities in Los Angeles County have already moved forward with bag bans.

Effective July of last year, stores in cities belonging to unincorporated Los Angeles County were no longer allowed to provide plastic bags for their customers. Legal attempts to fight against the ban made by plastic bag manufacturers and other petitioners were shot down in court last week, when Superior Court Judge James Chalfant upheld Los Angeles County’s bag ban.

Los Angeles Supervisor Gloria Molina said the ruling was a “huge victory not only for Los Angeles County, but for all jurisdictions waiting to see what happens in the case so they can implement similar laws.”

Los Angeles has plenty of problems to tackle—what with its crumbling infrastructure, dilapidated neighborhoods, a high unemployment rate, and more—yet the city instead seems poised to pick on shoppers, bag makers and stores.

“At a time when unemployment in Los Angeles County is 12.1 percent, the City Council should be looking at ways to support industry; instead the Council is considering banning a useful product without regard to the workers employed by the industry or potential economic harm,” said Jay Beeber, who is the government affairs chair for the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council.

The Los Angeles City Council should probably worry less about plastic bags and think more about its $72 million budget deficit for fiscal year 2011; and its estimated $150-$250 million budget shortfall for fiscal year 2012, not to mention unfunded pension liabilities. Let’s hope the council votes the proposed ordinance down.

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  1. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 16 April, 2012, 18:12

    Are they going to ban plastic doggy doo-doo bags too? Will they eventually force me to pick up my dog’s crap with my hands and put it in my hip pocket?

    I have a huge collection of plastic shopping bags at home. Why can’t I reuse those over and over again? If I can’t reuse ’em it means I’ll have to toss them out in the trash and clog up your ecology. Is that what you want? If I put two plastic bags together they don’t mate at night and reproduce. This makes no sense.

    Does this mean the bag police in the stores will force me to bag my groceries and gouge me a dime a bag? Why can’t I put all the items in my cart unbagged and dump them into boxes in my car? This isn’t Year 1915. Most people don’t have to walk 2 miles home from the butcher, baker or candlestick maker with our supplies in tow.

    I sense we are looking at another slippery slope just like with cigarettes. I foresee the day when I walk into a store with a couple plastic bags in hand and get stared down by the neighborhood buzzards. Word will get around and they’ll ostracise me. The vendors won’t even come to my door anymore. They’ll all call me the ‘plastic grinch’.

    God almighty. I’m glad I’m as old as I am!

    Reply this comment
  2. Rex The Wonder Dog!
    Rex The Wonder Dog! 17 April, 2012, 00:18

    Are they going to ban plastic doggy doo-doo bags too?

    All the plastic doggie doo bags are bio-degradable today……


    Reply this comment
  3. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 17 April, 2012, 08:57

    So there’s your answer. Make plastic shopping bags biodegradable too. If we can put a man on the moon and put an entire encyclopedia series plus much more on a tiny microchip – certainly we can produce a plastic bag that self-destructs in the elements. That’s alot more reasonable than enacting laws that make it a heinous crime to possess plastic bags w/intent to distribute. When that happens if the cops ever busted down my doors I’d go away for the rest of my natural life!

    Reply this comment
  4. David in Irvine
    David in Irvine 17 April, 2012, 09:19

    Someone ought to remind Ms. Ortiz and the other blue collar workers at the plastic bag plants that their true destiny according to the Democratic Party is to become servants in the restaurants and other businesses catering to wealthy environmentalists, financiers, show biz types and political donors in West LA, Santa Monica, Malibu, etc. and in their households. Why breathe in all those industrial fumes when you can clean Barbra Streisand’s many commodes?

    Reply this comment
  5. Ventura Capitalist
    Ventura Capitalist 17 April, 2012, 12:32

    What about the plastic bags on the roll in the produce department? Are they going to ban those too?

    In any event, if these imbeciles go through with this I’ll be buying my plastic grocery bags by the hundred on eBay. If I see you at Ralphs or Joe’s I’ll be glad to give you a few.

    Reply this comment
  6. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 17 April, 2012, 13:26

    I support you, Ventura. Just be careful and play smart. Just like smokers getting cited for lighting up on the beaches or in the parks – I foresee the day when shoppers will get written up in the bread aisle for bringing plastic bags into the supermarkets. The neighborhood wackos (and there are lots of them) will drop a 911 dime on ya. Use caution when you buy a roll of the bags. No doubt they will have plastic sniffing police dogs soon. Do it before they’re outlawed. Otherwise if a cop pulls you over and sees a roll in your car he’s likely to charge you with possession w/intent to distribute and seize your car under Federal forfeiture laws that does not grant your car the presumption of innocence. You have to prove innocence. And if it contained plastic bags – you’re screwed. Good luck.

    Reply this comment
  7. queeg
    queeg 17 April, 2012, 15:16

    When you regulate something….it is valuable in the underground.

    Reply this comment
  8. mtrmann
    mtrmann 17 April, 2012, 17:00

    Gelson’s green-colored plastic bags are biodegradable. The extreme environmentalist mind is unfathomable; there will always be more to be done to create the perfect progressive planet!

    Reply this comment
  9. Ted Steele, Janitor
    Ted Steele, Janitor 17 April, 2012, 22:58

    why do we need plastic bags that never degrade?

    Reply this comment
  10. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 17 April, 2012, 23:29

    “why do we need plastic bags that never degrade?”

    We need bio-degradable politicians. When they lie they melt. The goo on the State Capital floor would be 6 inches deep.

    Reply this comment
  11. Mike
    Mike 8 May, 2012, 09:29

    Plastic bags DO degrade! The sun’s UV dissolves them. Forgot a couple inside my boat’s windshield for the winter and they dissolved into dust. Had to clean them up with a wet sponge and vacuum. The $.10 per bag is what they’re after.

    I have several household garbage cans that were designed to use shopping bags for liners. Everyone recycles these things! Fortunately, I’m moving out of LA. & can just change my shopping environment to avoid these moronic regulations. At the rate they’re driving business away, I doubt I’ll be working in the city much longer. We’ve never been this slow in 20 years!

    Reply this comment

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