May 22nd, 2012
Heal the Bay, Clean Spirited’s July 2011 charity of the month, has been leading the fight to end the financial and environmental waste created by single-use shopping bags for the past five years throughout Los Angeles. L.A.’s delay in banning single-use, carry-out plastic bags has put it behind dozens of other cities in the state. With a recycling rate of only 5%, the bags are an environmental menace that the city 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. More importantly, in the last three years tens of millions of plastic carry-out bags — maybe even hundreds of millions — have been distributed throughout 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.
Voting is tomorrow at City Hall. The council could also vote to approve Councilman Paul Koretz’s proposal, which would ban only plastic bags for three months, then charge 10 cents for paper bags for another six months — before banning the both and requiring you to bring your reusable totes to Trader Joe’s, Ralphs and Whole Foods.