Small Grocers Now Have to Adhere to LA's Ridiculous Plastic Bag Ban


On Tuesday, the second wave of Los Angeles' plastic bag ban went in to effect as small grocers are no longer allowed to offer customers plastic as an option to carry their goods.

While the bag ban passed last year, city officials implemented the law in phases—on January 1 larger retail chains were prohibited from carrying the offending plastic bags. Now, smaller retailers and corner stores will have to follow suit. 

The ban is intended to help the environment, but opponents say that banning plastic bags will hurt the economy and that paper bags are actually worse for the environment. 

In 2012, Reason TV's Kennedy—now a host on the popular Fox Business show The Independents—went down to LA's City Hall to ask council members why they wanted to outlaw plastic bags. "LA Bans the Plastic Bag," produced by Zach Weissmueller and Kennedy was originally released on June 2, 2012. The original writeup is below. 

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?'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 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 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.