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Plastic Bag Ban Watered Down by L.A. Leaders

Plastic Bag Ban Watered Down by L.A. Leaders
Bernard Burns

Updated at the bottom: The council approved the watered-down version of the ban. First posted at 6:04 a.m.

The L.A. City Council almost brought home an unprecedented "double ban" on paper and plastic bags at your local market.

But last-minute lobbying pressure might have caused the body to back down. Now it's looking at a plastic-only ban that would phase out bags in six months to a year. A vote is expected this morning.

Oh well. Nice try:

Late yesterday the council leaned toward a revised ban proposed by council members Jose Huizar and Eric Garcetti that would mimic similar moves in Long Beach, Calabasas and Santa Monica.

According to City News Service:

The proposal would include a six-month phase-out of plastic bags for large grocers, a year-long phase-out for small grocers and a 10-cent fee for paper bags at all grocery stores one year after the ordinance is approved.

So much for being visionary.

Councilman Paul Koretz, who proposed the original ordinance that would have set the bar for banning bags, was leaning toward the Huizar-Garcetti compromise, City News Service reported.

The council almost always votes unanimously, so this sounds right.

In any case, it looks like L.A. is ready to do away with disposable grocery bags. Koretz said (PDF) nearly 13,000 people have emailed him to express support for his original proposal.

Environmentalists, however, probably won't be entirely happy. They wanted L.A. to be the first major metropolis to make folks bring reusable bags to the market.

Supporters of Heal the Bay will be out in force at City Hall for the big vote this morning.

[Update at 1:06 p.m.]: The council voted 13-1, with Bernard Parks against, to approve the watered-down version of the ban that would phase plastic out over six months for large stores and 12 months for smaller ones. After that paper bags would cost 10 cents.

L.A. is now the largest city in the nation to ban plastic bags: The ordinance will affect about 7,500 retailers, according to City News Service.

Heal the Bay spokesman Matthew King told the Weekly the group was satisfied:

We're ecstatic that it was a near unanimous vote. We hoped it would happen quicker than it did, but the ultimate result is satisfactory. It was a big win for Los Angeles today.

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