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    L.A. Plastic Bag Ban Begins Jan. 1

    Sanitation bureau, supermarkets preparing public 

    As of New Year’s Day, Los Angeles shoppers will have to bring their own reusable bags to stores or pay 10 cents for each paper bag they use, according to published reports. The city’s plastic bag ban will initially roll out to stores of more than 10,000 square feet or with annual sales of $2 million-plus, and then will extend to smaller stores by July 1.

    Los Angeles is one of about 90 cities or counties in California alone that have passed such ordinances in the past few years, including San Francisco and Santa Monica, the Los Angeles Daily News reported, citing the group Sacramento, Calif.-based Californians Against Waste. Cities outside of California that have imposed plastic-bag bans include Seattle; Portland, Ore.; and Aspen, Colo.

    To prepare the public for the change, Los Angeles’ Bureau of Sanitation is distributing more than 400,000 multicolored reusable bags and holding various events ahead of Jan. 1. The bureau has also set up a special informational website.

    ‘Learning Curve’

    Supermarkets are preparing as well. “We will do reusable bag giveaways around the launch of the ban, and we will be reminding customers to bring bags on their next shopping trip,” Kendra Doyel, spokeswoman for Compton, Calif.-based Ralphs, told the Los Angeles Daily News. Ralphs is a subsidiary of Cincinnati-based Kroger.

    Supermarkets in other California cities that have enacted such bans have discovered that most shoppers would rather bring in reusable bags than pay the 10-cent fee for paper, California Grocers Association spokesman Dave Heylen noted, adding that the Sacramento-based group was in the process of developing a statewide model so as not to have different regulations in different jurisdictions.

    “We think there will be a learning curve as consumers become more comfortable with this,” Heylen told the newspaper. “Once the Los Angeles ordinance kicks in, there will be 10 million people in the state who are covered by these laws.”

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