The law requires small grocers to offer reusable bags for purchase or paper bags for a 10-cent fee. The Los Angeles single-use bag ordinance went into effect for large businesses at the beginning of the year but now small grocers and convenience stores must also follow suit.
The bill is aimed at decreasing waste in landfills, waterways, and the ocean.
“Right now, if you look around, you’re not seeing as many plastic bags in the trees, in the fences, in the roads, stuck to the bottoms of our cars, you don’t see that anymore,” said Jackie David, public information director at the Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation.
Craig Cadwallader, chairperson of the South Bay Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation works to protect oceans and beaches, and has been working with local governments to fight plastic bag waste.
“We’ve actually seen the results. It is getting cleaner. We do beach cleanups regularly and we’re actually seeing, out in the real world, results of all these efforts,” he said.
Want Statewide Ban
According to the Californian’s Against Waste website, 111 cities and counties in California have single-use plastic bag bans. Far from being satisfied however, they’re pushing for SB 270, a ban that would be effective statewide.
“There’s a patchwork of single-use bag bans in all the different cities and each city has a slightly different version, and that’s really hard on the retailers. We want to make it easy for the retailers to adopt, so we do hope this statewide measure goes through,” Cadwallader said.
On Tuesday, city representatives distributed reusable cloth grocery bags to the public in low-income areas of Los Angeles.
In an effort to target social and environmental issues simultaneously, the bags were made by an at-risk veterans’ work therapy organization called Green Vets LA, and were printed by Homeboy Industries, a program that provides job skills to former convicts and gang members.