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West Hollywood plastic bag ban goes into effect today

February 20, 2013 |  8:35 am

Reuseable bags for sale at the checkout isle at Ralphs in Malibu. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

A ban on single-use plastic bag bans at checkout lines in West Hollywood’s large retailers goes into effect Wednesday.

The City Council adopted an ordinance in August prohibiting hundreds of pharmacies and grocery and retail stores including clothing stores and newsstands in the 1.9-square-mile city from distributing the bags.

Large retailers — those with buildings of 10,000 square feet or more — will be required to stop using plastic bags Wednesday. Smaller stores have until Aug. 20 to comply with the ban. Farmers markets, restaurants and other food service providers are excluded from the ban.

"Local governments have been charged, I think rightfully so, to reduce the amount of waste we put in the waste system," said West Hollywood Mayor Jeffrey Prang before the council’s vote on the ban.

Plastic bags, he said, "are costing us money and filling up landfills.”

Under the ordinance, stores can provide paper bags made with at least 40% post-consumer recycled content but must charge 10 cents for each one as an incentive to encourage customers to shop with reusable bags. Customers who qualify for subsidized groceries will not be required to pay the bag fee.

West Hollywood’s plastic bag ban ordinance met with little resistance, officials said.

San Francisco approved California’s first ban on plastic bags in 2007 and since then many municipalities have followed suit.

Plastic bags are banned in cities including Santa Monica, Long Beach and Pasadena, as well as in the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County. Los Angeles approved a ban in May.


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Photo: Reusable bags are up for sale at a checkout counter at a Ralphs grocery store in Malibu. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times