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The Los Angeles City Council took the first step on Tuesday toward making the city the largest U.S. municipality to ban plastic bags at the grocery store, with the goal of keeping them out of streets, beaches and the Pacific Ocean.
The Los Angeles City Council voted 11 to one to give preliminary approval to a bill which would outlaw plastic bags at grocery stores. The bill would allow consumers to buy a paper bag for a set price of 10 cents as a means of encouraging them to bring a re-usable sack.
According to published reports, the rules would apply to all businesses that sell groceries, such as supermarkets and drug stores, and they have the backing of environmentalists and the California Grocers Association.
City officials estimate the ordinance would eliminate 2 billion plastic bags one year after it goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2014, for large stores and six months later for smaller establishments. The measure must return to the City Council next week for another vote so it can be officially adopted.
Reports say that approximately 80 local governments in California, including San Francisco and San Jose, have already banned plastic bags, as has Maui County, Hawaii. If the Los Angeles measure goes into effect, one-quarter of California residents would live in a municipality that bans bags, according to Ron Fong, president and CEO of the California Grocers Association.