Environmental activists have scored a huge victory in Los Angeles, where the city council has voted 11-1 to make the city the biggest in the US to ban plastic grocery bags. Stores that sell perishable foods—including supermarkets, mini-marts, and retailers like Target that have grocery sections—will be barred from distributing plastic bags under the ordinance, which will take effect in January for big stores and next summer for smaller ones, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Around 2 billion plastic bags are used in the city every year. "We’ve seen plastic bags clogging our gutters, polluting our rivers, and piling up on our beaches," Councilmember José Huizar said in a statement. "The time for the City of Los Angeles to take action to protect our environment is now. And every big city in the nation can follow our lead." Opponents—including, unsurprisingly, plastic bag makers—argue that the ban will cost the city jobs, though backers say it will create them. The nonprofit Green Vets LA group says it has given 100 veterans jobs sewing reusable cloth bags. (Read more Los Angeles stories.)