LA becomes largest US city to ban single-use plastic bags

Withstanding a strong lobby from the plastic bag industry, the Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a ban on single-use plastic bags at checkout counters as well as a 10-cent fee on paper bags.

With a population of 4 million — and using an estimated 2.7 billion plastic bags each year — Los Angeles becomes the largest city in the U.S. to enact a ban and joins 47 other cities in California alone.

“This is a tipping point” for banning plastic bags around the world, City Councilman Paul Koretz, a ban sponsor, declared just before the 13-1 vote.

The industry counters that the ban will be bad for the environment and health and will cost local jobs.

Reusable bags “are hazardous because consumers seldom wash them, and they have been found to transport bacteria,” Mark Daniels, chair of the American Progressive Bag Alliance, told msnbc.com, citing a case earlier this month of girls getting norovirus from cookies left in a reusable bag.

“Plastic bags make up a fraction a percent of the litter stream,” Daniels added, citing a 2009 litter survey. “A policy to target and ban one product will not address the root issue” of pollution.

City staff countered at Wednesday’s meeting that 43 percent of Los Angeles’ trash is plastic and that the largest component of that plastic is plastic bags at 19 percent.

Read more of this story on MSNBC.

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