No More Plastic Bags at Los Angeles Corner Stores, Bodegas

When Los Angeles instituted its plastic bag ban at the start of the year, large grocery stores were affected immediately. Small mom-and-pop shops and corner stores were give six months to phase in compliance. That means today is the day that all stores in Los Angeles have to stop giving plastic bags to customers. Actually, that’s not quite true. Just as New York City’s failed large soda ban was full of holes on what businesses were affected, so is the bag ban. CBS LA notes:

Clear plastic sacks for produce and meat, along with bags for pharmacy items, will still be available and free to shoppers.

Establishments such as department stores, restaurants and other shops that do not sell grocery items will be exempt from the ban.

I guess plastic bags from department stores that don’t sell food have a different environmental impact than bags from those who do?

Anyway, despite Los Angeles City Council member Paul Koretz claiming that these plastic bags choke and pollute, a recent study by the Reason Foundation (which publishes this site and Reason magazine) determined that bag bans were ineffective in reducing waste and that claims that plastic bags make up a significant amount of coastal litter are exaggerated. Read their study here.

Below, Reason TV and Kennedy on L.A.’s ban:

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The worst thing plastic bags ever did to the environment is American Beauty.

  • albo||

    plus one.

    California must be a state full of litterers. I almost never see a plastic bag on the road or sidewalk.

  • Brandon||

    The posters for that movie were a horrible letdown. 16-year-old me allowed myself to be dragged to it because I thought I would at least get to see Mena Suvari naked. This was before I had access to broadband internet.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    I guess plastic bags from department stores that don’t sell food have a different environmental impact than bags from those who do?

    No, the bags have the same environmental impact. It's the people who possess the bags that makes a different impact. See, rich people who get a plastic bag from Nordstrom or Banana Republic properly dispose of the plastic bag in the plastics recycling bin. Poor people and immigrants who buy their colorful sugary drinks, cheap plastic noisemakers for their brood, and other ethnic novelties from the corner store are likely to dispose of the bag by throwing it on the ground. Like they do with their used corn cobs.

  • Dweebston||

    You forgot free healthcare... and snow.

  • PapayaSF||

    I know you're being sarcastic, but it's true. I've seen an Hispanic guy walking down the street in the Mission District, peeling an orange and dropping the pieces as he walks. I've seen a black guy through a bottle out of his car window, and a black woman watch as her kid threw a candy wrapper on the floor of the BART train. The reason the cruddier neighborhoods have more litter than nice ones isn't that they are cleaned less often, it's that poor people tend to litter more.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    I was only half-sarcastic. I agree that poor people litter more. I can't figure that one out. Also, they tend to just wander into traffic. Maybe poor people are just stupid?

  • Sevo||

    And if I'da known, I would'a saved it for here:
    Remember that horrid field of floating plastics in the Pacific?

    "Plastic Debris Widespread On Ocean Surface, Study Finds" (which is spin)
    "Researchers estimated the total amount of floating plastic debris in open ocean at 7,000 to 35,000 tons.
    Andres Cozar of the University of Cadiz in Spain, an author of the study, said that's a lot less than the 1 million tons he had extrapolated from data reaching back to the 1970s."

    Yeah, 7,000 is "a lot less than" 1,000,000 tons. And that remains an 'estimate' by greenies.
    Call it 5# and be done with it.

  • PapayaSF||

    According to a Slashdot comment, decades ago (before recycling) someone estimated the percentage of plastic that washed into the ocean, and since then people have just taken that figure and multiplied it by the amount of plastic produced.

  • Sevo||

    (one more try; this seems to have gotten lost in the ozone)
    Greenies are the people of SCIENCE. You know, 'cause all the data is really good!:

    "There are 5 major ocean gyres worldwide. In the Pacific Ocean, the North Pacific Gyre is home to the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”, a large area that is approximately the size of Texas with debris extending 20 feet (6 meters) down into the water column. It’s estimated that this “plastic island” contains 3.5 million tons of trash and could double in size in the next 5 years."

    Numbers from ass!

  • jimpeel||

    The whole thing about the "trash island in the Pacific that is the size of Texas" which cannot be seen from space because it doesn't exist. Tell that to the envirowackos and they will tell you "The reason you can't see it from space is because it is just beneath the surface where it can't be seen from above."

    Yet we don't hear about any ships being stranded at sea because of all of the trash entangled in the propellers. There are no videos of the trash being swept aside by cruise ships as they navigate through the Texas size trash island like ice breakers. Not even a phone video.

  • pingdragon||

    FYI this just came out

    The Great Garbage Patch is a myth. This report takes into account Andres Cozar put out.

  • Rich||

    today is the day that all stores in Los Angeles have to stop giving plastic bags to customers

    The stores can *sell* the bags for a penny a piece, though, right? I mean plus tax, of course.

  • PapayaSF||

    In SF bags are 10 cents by law, I believe.

  • Sevo||

    Most of the local places don't bother charging and they all seem to have bags 'left over' from several years ago.
    Seems they'd rather sell more stuff than most people can stick in a pocket.

  • Almanian!||

    Wow, good thing I don't live there. I wouldn't have anything to line our small trash cans in the house.

  • ||

    It's LA City, not county, although my town has also enacted a bag ban, the grocery stores I go to are in Torrance, which have not.

  • Almanian!||

    So, good thing I don't live there. I wouldn't have anything to line our small trash cans in the house.

  • albo||

    Environmental slactivism.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Of course, this plastic ban will hit the hoi polloi and the poor, who the legislators claim to love, the hardest.

    We, the Top Men, will drag you to the Promised Land, to the Shining City on a Hill, whether you want to go or not.

  • Mike S.||

    They reject our logic and substitute their own:

  • Slammer||

    Have fun picking up dog shit, LA.

  • ||

    Yeah, they just sell single purpose plastic bags for that. Because that's better or something.

  • Brandon||

    They sell biodegradable bags for that. Which will soon be required in LA, I assume. They work, they just cost more.

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    All the people who like this shit drive Prius's that have an "I love Obamacare" sticker on the back.

    Well not really. But I was just behind this exact asshole. And I'd bet a lot of money he likes out plastic bag ban. What a fucking asshole.

  • Rich||

    Holden? Holden *Caulfield*?!

  • SugarFree||


  • ||

    My favorite bumper sticker is the "Obama DOES care" one. Ugh.

  • Leigh||

    I just saw my first ReadyForHillary sticker yesterday. I almost lost my lunch right there.

  • PapayaSF||

    What difference, at this point, does it make?

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    The only rational complaint I've heard about plastic bags is from a large recycler. He uses automated machines to sort the material at the plant and the plastic bags blow around the facility and jam up the machinery.

  • pingdragon||

    There are places that take it and machines that can handle the sorting. Just go to CAlrecycle and there is a list of them in California.

  • ||

    The Italian and Lebanese grocery stores I frequent have roughly 3:1 bagging ratio. That is, three item per plastic bag. Or thereabouts.

    They don't seem to be too worried about all this crap nor do they bother to charge .5 cents per bag.

    God bless what's left of the old world.

  • ||

    The last time I bought groceries in Italy they did charge a few cents for each plastic bag. They even look at you funny for being dumb enough to not bring a reusable bag to the store with you. Sadly, the old world is not what it used to be.

  • jimpeel||

    If you want to see this in a clear perspective watch this:

    WARNING: Some crude language.

  • jimpeel||

    Every study that has been done has found reusable bags to be dangerous and a health hazard.

    Business Week: "Paper or Plastic (or Deadly Food-Borne Pathogens)?"

    University of Arizona and Loma Linda University: "Assessment of the Potential for Cross Contamination of Food Products by Reusable Shopping Bags".

  • jimpeel||

    More on the health hazards of reusable bags.

    University of Pennsylvania Law School: "Grocery Bag Bans and Foodborne Illness". (Download the study for free)

    Reason Foundation: "How Green Is That Grocery Bag Ban?"

  • Karl_L||

    When the plastic bag ban went into effect, I bought a box of 1000 bags at the restaurant supply store. When I go into a store, I bring in a few. Today, the checker offered to bag my stuff for me, using the forbidden plastic bags.

    They're not allowed to provide them. Customers can still get their own.


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