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Los Angeles one step closer to banning plastic bags

File photo courtesy: Walmart/Flickr

File photo courtesy: Walmart/Flickr

Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Wednesday, June 19, 2013, 1:43 PM -

On Tuesday, Los Angeles City Council voted 11-1 in favour of banning plastic bags from all businesses that sell groceries.

The preliminary measure will be backed by a final vote next week.

Once the law begins to go into effect on January 1, 2014, customers will have the option of purchasing paper bags for $0.10 or bringing a re-usable tote.

Plastic bags are a prevalent problem for the city and its 4 million residents. Statistics suggest that less than 5% of them make it to the recycling plant.

Dozens of municipalities across the country already prohibit the use of plastic bags, but LA will become the largest.

Officials believe the ban would remove 2 billion plastic bags from landfills each year.

“We’ve seen plastic bags clogging our gutters, polluting our rivers and piling up on our beaches,” said Councilor José Huizar in a statement.

It's estimated that the city spends $25 million cleaning up after them each year.

But Mark Daniels, Chairman of the American Progressive Bag Alliance, says the ban may do more harm than good.

"Bag bans and taxes don't help the environment –- they make things worse," he said in a statement.

"A tax on consumers is hurtful and, worse, a ban on plastic bags threatens the jobs of the 1,000 hard-working employees of Los Angeles area plastic bag manufacturers."

He says that reusable bags can actually increase a person's carbon footprint because they require more water and energy to produce.

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