Is L.A.'s Plastic Bag Ban a New Way For Stores to Charge You More?

Is L.A.'s Plastic Bag Ban a New Way For Stores to Charge You More?
D Sharon Pruit / Flickr

L.A. will become the largest city in America to outlaw one-time-use plastic bags at grocery stores and markets if the City Council's vote today stands.

Opponents of the measure say it's a gift to the city's powerful grocery store chains because they'll get to keep the 10 cents per paper bag you'll inevitably pay when you forget to bring your reusable toes to the market:

The Bag the Ban campaign and the American Progressive Bag Alliance say the council is just letting big box stores, grocery chains and pharmacies make more money off Angelenos by now charging you for bags when they weren't before.

The Alliance even calls it a new grocery "tax." It's chairman, Mark Daniels, says:

... The California Grocers Association continues to peddle this bag ban and tax scam around the state because big grocers stand to make millions from collecting every penny of the tax on paper bags.

Of course, advocates of the ban say it's good for the environment. Those one-time-use bags clog our drainage systems and end up in the Pacific, not to mention in landfills.

The environmental group Heal the Bay was one of the biggest proponents of the ban. The group states:

With today's historic vote, one in four Californians now live in a city that has enacted curbs against single-use bags.

Councilman Jose Huizar, who voted for the ban, said:

We've seen plastic bags clogging our gutters, polluting our rivers and piling up on our beaches. 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.

Only Councilman Bernard Parks voted against the ban. The City Council will still have to reaffirm its vote next week before the mayor can sign it into law. It would then take effect Jan. 1 for large stores and six months later for smaller ones.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

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