Los Angeles bans plastic shopping bags
So when I first read this story, I thought 'great, if LA can do it, anyone can do it!'. But turns out this banning of plastic bags won't come into effect until July 1, 2010.
However, this is a good beginning, as starting then LA shoppers can either bring their own bags, or pay 25 cents for a paper or biodegradable bag.
The council's unanimous vote also puts pressure on the state, which is considering an Assembly bill that would impose bag recycling requirements on stores.
City officials said their ban would not be implemented if the state passes the bill and requires at least a 25-cent charge per bag.
"We've gotten to a point where we need to act as a city, where we can have real results," said Councilman Ed Reyes, who proposed the bag ban. "We're trying to do it in a way where we can educate and inform the public of what we're doing."
Reyes said the ban will minimize cleanup costs for the city and reduce trash that collects in storm drains and the Los Angeles River. The city estimates more than two billion plastic bags are used each year in Los Angeles. About five per cent of plastic bags and 21 per cent of paper bags are recycled in California.
Banning plastic bags will not solve a lot of problems, like the extensive litter problem, but it is a step to recognizing how much waste is generated by plastic bags.
San Fransisco has already banned plastic shopping bags and was the first in North America to do so. Hopefully Los Angeles is just following the example and setting a huge example for others.
According to the 'Litter Reduction Program' at the University of British Columbia, it takes 10 to 20 years for a plastic bag to biodegrade. Whether that happens at the top of that scale or the bottom, that is a very long time, and think about how many bags there must be blowing around the streets of Los Angeles at this very moment.