LA County Bans Plastic Bags
And puts a surcharge on paper ones to boot
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 17, 2010 9:55 AM CST
A car drives past a plastic bag lying on a on-ramp to Highway 70 near Olivehurs, Calif., Wednesday, June 2, 2010.   (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

(Newser) – The LA County Board of Supervisors passed a ban on plastic grocery bags yesterday, and instituted a 10 cent surcharge for each paper bag used instead, in an effort to push customers toward more environmentally-friendly cloth and reusable plastic bags, the LA Times reports. The measure, which is even stricter than those recently passed in San Francisco and Malibu, will affect some 1,000 stores.

LA County runs through 6 billion plastic bags per year, or 1,600 per household, and only 5% wind up being recycled. “Plastic bags are a pollutant,” said one supervisor. “They pollute the urban landscape. They are what we call in our county ‘urban tumbleweed.’” The vote split along partisan lines, with the four-man board’s lone Republican opposing the measure, arguing that mom-and-pop shops would be disadvantaged, and that the poor can’t afford reusable bags.