Uncategorized plastic-bags

Published on July 24th, 2008 | by Cassie Walker

18

Los Angeles Bans Plastic Bags, Limits Styrofoam

Plastic bags in plastic bagsFollowing the lead of our progressive neighbors to the north, San Francisco, the City of Los Angeles has decided to ban plastic bags by 2010. A bit of a disclaimer, though – the ban will be implemented only if the State does not impose a 25 cent fee for each bag requested by a customer. This bill (AB 2058) is coming up for a vote in August. Still, it’s a step in the right direction, putting pressure on lawmakers to reduce the 2.3 billion bags used by consumers in Los Angeles.

The announcement comes after Los Angeles County supervisors caused disappointment in January when they abandoned a threat to ban the bags, choosing instead a voluntary program where stores were to “encourage” customers to bring reusable bags. In other words, the status quo.

The City Council also voted to ban Styrofoam at all city-owned facilities, including LAX, by 2009. Though Los Angeles collects Styrofoam for recycling, there isn’t really a market for it – by the time it is melted down, very little material is left. Last I heard, Styrofoam was being stored until another solution could be found…like a ban! Ta da!

Both plastic bags and Styrofoam are a major environmental hazard in Los Angeles. If you’ve ever been to the beach after a rain, you know what I mean – the fact that the entire region’s storm system drains into the Santa Monica and San Pedro Bays, untreated, is hard to miss. Every cigarette butt, plastic bag, and Styrofoam cup (now in a bajillion teeny tiny pieces) that hit the streats in the Southland is now on the beach and in the water. The resulting contamination and threat to marine life is obvious. So, ban aside, you still have the personal choice not to accept these items – exercise it!

Photo credit: Paul Keller at Flikr under a Creative Commons license






Tags: , , , ,


About the Author

Cassie covers the events, businesses and people that are making things happen in the ever-growing Los Angeles green community. In the workaday world, Cassie runs Three Elements Consulting, applying the business acumen acquired through many grueling years in corporate America to green start-ups and non-profits. She is also the author of The Green Office Handbook, a comprehensive program for offices looking to go green - it can be found at TheSustainableOffice.com. Having grown up in Texas, Cassie credits her dad for her lifelong love of nature. After moving out west, Cassie received an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management, where she sits on the Alumni Board of Directors. She currently volunteers for several environmental organizations.



  • Gustavion

    This is a nice move I suppose, but I would prefer for us, as consumers, to voice a stronger demand for businesses to do this… apart from government intervention. We need to support companies that provide us our desired utility and benefit the environment. For example, I came across a website http://www.simplestop.net that stops your postal junk mail and benefits the environment.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/quinoa-is-yummy cchiovitti

    Definately a step in the right direction. I hope other areas will follow suit.

  • http://is.gd/Fo2?103416970 Rettany Rain

    LA? THE LA. Los Angeles, California? Hot damn. I guess there s hope for all of us.

  • http://www.brightfuture.us Tim

    A good move by L.A. It looks like the city is joining the growing list of municipalities leading the way in the environmental movement. L.A. has a ways to go before it becomes another Portland, SF, Seattle or Honolulu, but this is a definite step in the right direction.

  • dock

    you are all idiots. do you think paper bags are any environmentally friendlier than plastic bags? ever seen a paper mill and the impact on the water and air quality LA has such qreat air quality that you need to really worry about plastic bags – right?

  • http://www.petekronowitt.com Natalie

    to ‘Dock'; thanks for the postive commentary. Always good to have constructive intelligent dialog to inspire us.

    But just to be clear, noyone here is recommending paper bags — the goal is to move away from our current disposable, highly consumption-oriented society. The focus is to have people carry their OWN bags, not take away plastic OR paper.

    Keep in mind…there were NO single use plastic bags in the market before 1977, seems we somehow did fine without them. FWIW, paper bags were invented in the 1850s and the form of the square bottom/pleated sides that became ubiquitous was introduced in the 1890s. So, for most of recorded human history we never even used these items.

    Is our convenience really that paramount when we consider the cradle to grave impacts and costs of single-use materials?

  • http://www.revenuerobot.com androo

    wish more places would do the same…

  • http://outdoorurbanite.com/ Terri

    This is really exciting news. I am anxious to see if it actually happens.

  • Bill Vincent

    Hope the rest of the nation follows suit without the need for expensive legislation. Let’s put some pressure on the retail industry! I’ve got my re-usable canvas shopping bags, got yours?

  • http://shanx.com Shanx

    Well, goodbye, Pamela Anderson.

  • Steven

    Hi,
    you find places to recycle expandable polystyrene (styrofoam) under http://www.epscentral.org

    Do you really believe that a ban of any kind of packaging material would help to overcome the problems?
    Try harder in educating people to change their habit – to not just throw away any waste to the environmental.
    That is, where it all starts.

  • Janis

    I found this because I was searching “styrofoam los angeles.” Because I can’t believe the amount of restaurants in LA that use styrofoam take out containers. Sure, ANY take out is creating useless waste, but … I thought styrofoam was already illegal, Okay, kidding, just wishing. The only people I see taking their own bags are the Trader Joe contingent. My apartment building got rid of the recycling and trash bins and just got one big dumpster. The tenants were just putting everything in all of them anyway. LA needs some Create Less Waste, Consume Less Water/Power, and Recycle propaganda strategically planned.

  • Pingback: Connecticut Town Bans Plastic Shopping Bags : EcoLocalizer

  • Pingback: News Flash: It’s Not an Eco-Friendly Reusable Bag if You Don’t Use It : EcoLocalizer

  • Pingback: Heal the Bay Sponsors “Day Without a Bag” : EcoLocalizer

  • miguel

    What about styrofoam coolers used to transport perishable or temperature sensitive products. These produce more bulk waste than anything else. Pharmaceutical companies have been using these for years but what is their alternatives?

  • http://www.banplasticbags.org.uk Tony Langham

    Can you tell everybody in the USA that SEPT 12th is UK-PBF DAY [PBF=Plasticbagfree]. Can I get a name/ email address of a person involved in your plastic bag campaign please.
    See the UK at http://www.plasticbagfree.com/pbf/php
    Come and join us and make it an International PBF Day
    Tony Langham
    01722-328847
    Skype on-grandadtl

  • http://www.glovesfordove.com littledove

    It is astounding how many illegal street vendors are supplying a daily dumpload of styrofoam cups to a reliable stream of immigrant workers. If these patrons want a hot beverage every day, why not bring your own cup. It comes down to education and laziness in my opinion. Not to mention the people purchasing to go “food” from Yoshinoya and McDonald’s. I know we are capable of producing a self composting styrofoam replacement. And if need be force people to make the right choices. When you abuse a privelege like thinking for yourself then we need regulation. Responsible thought should not be in the minority.

Back to Top ↑
  • Other IM Network Sites

  • Connect w/ EcoLocalizer

  • Featured: City Planning

  • Featured: Urban Renewal

  • Featured: Bike / Walkability

  • Advertisement

  • Search the IM Network

  • The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by, and do not necessarily represent the views of Sustainable Enterprises Media, Inc., its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.