Los Angeles Plastic Bag Ban Goes Into Effect July 1
The County of Los Angeles will begin enforcement on a ban of carryout plastic bags on Friday, July 1, 2011. Adopted by the county's board of supervisors on November 16, 2010, the ordinance will require all supermarkets and large retail stores to cease handing out disposable plastic bags, and charge $0.10 per paper bag given to customers. Smaller grocery stores, eateries and other retail establishments have until the end of the year to comply, with enforcement beginning for them on January 1, 2012.
The ban requires retailers to provide recyclable paper bags, or reusable bags either for sale or at no cost, to consumers, and defines the prohibited items as "any bag made predominantly of plastic derived from either petroleum or a biologically-based source, such as corn or other plant sources, which is provided to a customer at the point of sale." The ban includes recyclable and compostable plastic bags, although recyclable plastic bags at least 2.25 mil thick which have a minimum lifespan of 125 uses may be used. Customers are still allowed to use bags of any type that they bring to the store themselves.
"Based on the sheer volumes of bags produced and used, there will be a definitive business impact on those companies that produce these bags," said Christopher Duffy, vice president of marketing and business development for Bag Makers, Union, Ill. "While there are a couple of industry suppliers who sell these specific types of bag, it generally isn't a mainstream product for most. There are specific retail suppliers who specialize in the area of mass production."
Since the law requires retailers to provide alternatives to the banned disposable bags, and encourages the use of reusable bags, it provides an opportunity for promotional products distributors. "These [reusable] bags, generally made of nonwoven polypropylene and actively promoted for use by jurisdictions, are very popular products in our industry," Duffy explained. "If an organization can use these reusable bags in their marketing, their message gets seen over and over again and they benefit from ban directly (as does the environment)."