Los Angeles became the largest city in the nation Wednesday to approve a ban on plastic bags at supermarket checkout lines, handing a major victory to clean-water advocates who sought to reduce the amount of trash clogging landfills, the region’s waterways and the ocean.
Egged on by actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus and an array of environmental groups, the City Council voted 13 to 1 to phase out plastic bags over the next 12 months at an estimated 7,500 stores. Councilman Bernard Parks cast the lone no vote.
“Let’s get the message to Sacramento that it’s time to go statewide,” said Councilman Ed Reyes, who has focused on efforts to revitalize the Los Angeles River.
Council members quietly backed away from a more controversial plan to also ban use of paper grocery bags, which was first proposed by appointees of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
Wednesday’s vote kicks off a four-month environmental review of the bag ban, followed by passage of an ordinance putting it into effect. Larger stores would then have six months to phase out plastic bags and smaller markets a 12-month phase-out period. For paper bags, retailers would be required to charge 10 cents per bag starting one year after the plastic bag is enacted.