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Los Angeles passes plastic bag ban

The City of Los Angeles became the largest city in the country to adopt an ordinance to phase out plastic grocery bags.

If the measure is signed, as expected, by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the phase out of single use plastic grocery bags at large grocery stores will begin January 1, 2014 and extend to smaller convenience and liquor stores by July 1, 2014.

The adoption of the ordinance comes just two weeks after the California State Senate fell three votes short of passing a statewide phase-out of single use plastic bags (SB 405 by State Senator Alex Padilla).

In passing the ordinance, several members of the council, including City Council President Herb Wesson called on the state legislature to revisit the issue statewide.

Another dozen jurisdictions are expected to adopt ordinances phasing out single-use plastic later this year, including the Cities of Sacramento and Chico, and the Counties of Santa Barbara, Ventura, Sonoma and Monterey.

The use of single-use plastic bags peaked in 2005, when an estimated 21 billion plastic bags were distributed in California. Today that number has been reduced by better than one-third – to less than 14 billion. In 2014, the number of plastic grocery bags is expected to fall below 10 billion for the first time since the 1980s.