News & Politics

L.A. Becomes Largest City to Ban Plastic Bags

Shoppers in the city will have to bring their own reusable grocery bags or pay ten cents per paper bag.

Plastic bags in India.
Photo Credit: Zainub Razvi/Flickr

The city of Los Angeles is starting the new year out with a ban--a ban on plastic bags.  

On January 1, a new law kicks in that prohibits large grocery stores from packing up items into plastic bags, as the Los Angeles Times notes.  The law makes LA the largest city to have such a ban.

So when Los Angeles shoppers go to big stores in 2014, they either have to bring their own reusable grocery bags or pay ten cents per paper bag.  Smaller groceries and liquor stores will have to comply with the ban beginning July 1.

The impetus for the ban was environmental concerns, despite lobbying from bag manufacturers.  Plastic bags usually find their way to city streets and then to the ocean, where they threaten fish and other wildlife.

In recent months, LA officials and environmental groups have passed out hundreds of thousands of reusable bags to residents.

"This is huge step,” Sarah Sikich, science and policy director for Heal the Bay, told the Los Angeles Times.  “It really sends a message to other places, both nationally and beyond. Now Chicago and New York are looking at similar policies for their communities."


Alex Kane is former World editor at AlterNet. His work has appeared in Mondoweiss, Salon, VICE, the Los Angeles Review of Books and more. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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