LA Bans The Plastic Bag

Plastic bags: faithful transporters of groceries, liners of wastebaskets, pickers-up of dog crap and inspirers of late nineties Hollywood screenwriters, now banned from grocery stores by the Los Angeles City Council. But why?

Reason.tv's Kennedy paid a visit to LA City Hall to find an answer to that question. Council members stood by the ban, despite being confronted with evidence that bag bans have no discernible effect on the health of the environment and make up less than 1 percent (pdf download) of California's waste stream.

"When you're looking at 1 percent, that's a huge difference," says Councilman Alarcon, who voted for the ban.

Reason contributor Jay Beeber points out that a similar ban in San Francisco failed to reduce (pdf download) the small number of plastic bags actually littering the street.

"This is just feel-good legislation," says Beeber. "It's not going to solve any problems, but it makes people think that we've done something."

Still, council member Tom LaBonge feels that he served his district well by outlawing plastic bags at grocery stores.

"That one percent [of plastic bags in the waste stream] pollutes the river," says LaBonge. "You want to go out to the river with me? I'll show it to you."

Approximately 4:43 minutes.

Interviews by Kennedy. Shot and edited by Zach Weissmueller.

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