Heal the Bay has been leading the fight to end the fiscal and environmental waste created by single-use shopping bags for five years. So we were heartened today to see the Los Angeles Times' editorial board urging the Los Angeles City Council to adopt its long-gestating ban. An excerpt is printed below:
L.A.'s delay in banning single-use, carry-out plastic bags has put it behind dozens of other municipalities in the state. With a recycling rate of only 5%, the bags are an environmental menace that we can easily do without.
When the city of Los Angeles held off three years ago on banning single-use, carry-out plastic bags, it missed a chance to be at the forefront of environmentally responsible lawmaking in California. By the time it inexplicably delayed a vote again in December, close to 20 cities as well as Los Angeles County had prohibited stores from providing the bags. And since then, the bags have been banned in more than two dozen additional municipalities in the state.
More important, in the last three years tens of millions of plastic carry-out bags — possibly hundreds of millions — have been distributed in Los Angeles. Statewide, only about 5% of them are generally recycled. They snag on trees and bushes in the wilderness and are washed down waterways to the ocean. They are the second most common trash item found on beaches, and contribute to the giant floating garbage patch in the Pacific.
The City Council's Energy and Environment Committee should waste no more time. It should approve a ban for the full council to consider.