Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa cemented his stellar environmental record by signing the plastic checkout bag ban into law. City Council has been working on the issue for ten years and finally passed an ordinance this year that will make LA the largest city in the U.S. to take meaningful action on plastic pollution. The final step for City Council was a second reading of the ordinance yesterday which was followed by the Mayor's signature this afternoon to make the ordinance officially law. It is scheduled to go into effect January 1, 2014.
When this new ordinance goes into effect, 30% of California's population will be covered by some sort of plastic checkout bag ban. The intent is to embrace reusable bags to help reduce plastic bag pollution. Plastic bags are typically a top-five item collected at beach cleanups, they blow away easily, are not typically recycled and there is an easy solution with reusable bags. Most of the plastic checkout bag bans include a ten-cent fee on paper bags as an incentive to remember your bags or go without one for a small purchase.
Reusable bag germ scares and job loss claims have both been debunked. The time is now for more cities to join this important first step in curbing plastic pollution. We call on any state legislature to be the first to truly stand up again plastic bag litter with a meaningful bag bill. Help to Rise Above Plastics by getting involved with your local Surfrider Chapter.
The LA River, the beaches, and the ocean thanks the LA City Council and Mayor Villaraigosa!