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County Bagging Plastic

Posted: January 23, 2008 1:07 p.m.
Updated: March 25, 2008 2:01 a.m.
Paper or plastic?

That question may become a thing of the past within several years.
Plastic bags may potentially be banned at large grocery and retail stores in unincorporated areas by 2013, under a motion passed Tuesday by the county Board of Supervisors. In the Santa Clarita Valley, areas such as Stevenson Ranch, Westridge and Castaic would be affected by the ban.
The board unanimously approved the ban with amendments Tuesday. Los Angeles County now joins San Francisco County in favor of a plastic bag reduction.
The ban was approved with an amendment introduced by Supervisor Michael Antonovich, which requires the county to draft an ordinance in 2010 banning plastic bags in unincorporated areas if use is not reduced 30 percent by 2010 and 65 percent by 2013.
Under the original proposal, the original benchmark for reduction was 5 percent higher and one year earlier - 35 percent by 2009 and 70 percent by 2010.
"Today's outcome was a result of a consensus-driven approach to ultimately remove the environmental threat posed by plastic bags," said Tony Bell, spokesman for Antonovich. "A lot of folks were involved with this. It was an agreement that was reached with the input of environmental groups including Citizens Against Waste, business groups such as Valley Industry & Commerce Association, the L.A. Chamber and the grocer's industry."
The move is in response to several environmental groups advocating decreased reliance on plastic bags, arguing that plastic bags endanger wildlife, pollute waterways, exacerbate neighborhood blight and generate thousands of tons of unnecessary waste. State legislation was enacted last year requiring retailers to sell reusable totes at store entrances in order to encourage people to reduce the use of both plastic and paper bags.
County residents use about 6 billion plastic bags annually.
With the ban, the county joins a number of cities and nations trying to cut the use of plastic bags.
In a 3-1 vote, the board also voted to support the repeal of state legislation that prohibits public agencies from imposing a fee on plastic store bags, instead implementing a statewide fee on these bags in effort to reduce consumption and control litter. Antonovich was the sole dissenting vote.


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