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Pasadena’s plastic bag ban takes effect

July 1, 2012 |  5:01 pm

Plastic bag ban takes effect
Pasadena's ban on plastic bags took effect Sunday, bringing the city into line with a host of other California municipalities hoping to wean consumers off single-use bags in favor of reusables.

The ban applies to supermarkets, drug stores, liquor markets and convenience stores, where recyclable paper bags will be sold for 10 cents each. The ban also covers farmers markets and other events sponsored by the city or held on city property.

Large Pasadena retailers are required to comply now, while smaller stores will have an additional six months. Restaurants and fast-food establishments are exempt from the law because of sanitary safety considerations, the Pasadena Sun reported.

Ralphs and Food 4 Less stores offered free reusable bags to customers in the days leading up to the deadline, according to spokeswoman Kendra Doyel, "just to help them build up that reusable stash, so they'll be ready."

The bans are intended to reduce landfill waste, conserve energy and resources and promote sustainability.

But Paul Little, president of the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, said he thinks it will fall short of its intentions. The ban, he said, is "a hood ornament to environmentalism, with no real positive impact on the environment." The chamber argued unsuccessfully for Pasadena to impose a 20- or 25-cent charge on bags without banning their use.

"Ten cents isn't enough to deter anyone.... But in places where they've [charged more] -- in Europe, for example -- they've seen an 80 to 90% reduction in the use of plastic bags," Little said.

Sue Vang, a policy associate with Californians Against Waste, an environmental nonprofit advocacy group, said the 10-cent charge is working just fine in unincorporated parts of Los Angeles County, which are showing a 94% reduction in all single-bag use since its law took effect last year.


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-- Beige Luciano-Adams, Times Community News

Photo: Stores in unincorporated parts of Los Angeles County -- including this Albertsons in Hacienda Heights -- are also subject to a ban on plastic bags. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times