Today the Los Angeles City Council's Energy and Environment Committee took a bold step towards a double-ban on single-use plastic and paper bags. The Committee's unanimous recommendation, led by Councilmember Paul Kortez, would require a phased, three-step approach: for the first six months a ban would be enacted for plastic bags only, then for the following six months a 10 cent charge would be placed on paper bags and finally, after 12 months, there would be an outright ban on both single-use plastic and paper bags.
Testimony from the city's Board of Public Works helped to debunk claims from bag manufacturers that the ban would create job losses. If enacted, L.A.'s ban would be one of the most-far reaching measures in the nation.
This decision should embolden other cities, counties and states nationwide to take action. The Committee's move highlights that the time has come to eliminate plastic pollution at its source in order to protect our environment and economy. The progress made today is very gratifying for Heal the Bay, as we have been leading the charge in Southern California to rid our neighborhoods, rivers, beaches and ocean of plastic trash for over two decades.
The full City Council is expected to vote on this measure in the next two weeks. After the policy direction passes the full Council, the city will need to conduct an environmental review.