L.A. County Considers Ban on Plastic Grocery Bags
LOS ANGELES, Apr. 10, 2007 (KABC-TV) (KABC) -- Plastic shopping bags, like the ones you get at the supermarket, may one day be banned in L.A. County. On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors is reviewing a recycling study that could eventually lead to a county-wide ban of those popular bags.
There is growing concern about plastic bag waste. Experts say petroleum-based plastic bags like the ones you find in grocery stores never decompose in landfills. As they continue to fill up all of those dumps, the Board of Supervisors is considering possibly banning them for good.
Chances are that when you walk into a store, you will walk out with a plastic bag. In California, we use an estimated 19 million plastic shopping bags a year, and six million in Los Angeles County alone. The vast majority end up in area landfills.
Monica Martin, shopper: "I usually trash them, I do. But as far as the containers, I do recycle those."
Whether it is a push to recycle the popular plastic bags or banning them altogether like San Francisco has, the L.A. Board of Supervisors is taking the first steps in finding some solutions.
Yvonne B. Burke, L.A. County Supervisor: "I absolutely think that it's an imperative. We have plastic bags everywhere. Our population is almost ten times as much. So what we have to address is the way that will fit everything."
San Francisco is the first city in the nation to order all merchants to switch to biodegradable shopping bags. The challenge in L.A. is that the county lacks the capacity to process the special compostable bags made out of potato or cornstarch.
Rebecca Young, shopper: "The idea of going to biodegradable ones sounds very intelligent. I'm sure the costs will be funneled out to the consumer somehow, some way. But it is definitely probably a positive thing for the environment."
And with millions of plastic bags being tossed into the trash, it's a growing problem that will not disappear any time soon.
The city of Los Angeles looked into banning plastic bags a few years, but in the end decided just to allow the plastic bags to be thrown in with regular recycling. The county of L.A., however, does not offer curbside recycling and must look into other options.
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