In an 11-1 vote by the Los Angeles city council on Tuesday, the city became the largest in the nation to ban plastic grocery bags.
Councilman Paul Koretz said the move was another direction toward environmental sustainability following the clean-truck program and a push to build new rail lines.
"This is the biggest city in the nation to tackle the single-use bag addiction," said Kirsten James, a member of the advocate group Heal the Bay. "It sends a strong signal to Sacramento that we need a statewide policy."
Opponents of the ban argued it will hurt the region’s jobs, particularly in Southeast Los Angeles where plastic bag makers operate. Cathy Browne, general manager at Huntington Park bag makers, said more than 50 percent of the company’s business is in plastic grocery bags and many of her 300 employees will lose their jobs because of the ban.
However, nonprofit groups like Green Vets say they have already given 100 jobs to veterans who manufacture reusable bags, including one man from the plastic bag industry.
Businesses that fail to comply with the ordinance will be fined $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second and $500 for the third. Fines will be added each day the violation occurs thereafter.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is expected to sign the bill after a second vote in the council next week.