Tag Archives: Los Angeles plastic bag ban

Westport Leads; LA Follows

Mostly, whatever Westport’s got, Los Angeles has more.

People. Beaches. Traffic.

But for nearly 4 years we had something LA did not: a ban on plastic bags.

Last week, the Los Angeles City Council voted 13-1 to phase out plastic bags at supermarkets over the next 16 months. It’s the largest US city to do so.

The LA ban differs somewhat from Westport’s. Theirs covers supermarkets only; our, all retail stores.

And Los Angeles will charge customers 10 cents for each paper bag. Here, they’re free.

But while the California vote seems almost archaic to us now, it’s instructive to look back at 2008. The RTM vote made Westport the 1st town in Connecticut — and one of the few in the country — with such an ordinance.

Many Westporters were not pleased. What about garbage bags, lawn and leaf bags, UPS bags, even sandwich bags? some smirked. (Well, they should be banned too, proponents countered.)

Paper bags are even worse for the environment than plastic! one side said.

Billy Ray Cyrus finds a good use for plastic bags.

There were arguments that better recycling of plastic bags would serve the same purpose, with less hassle. That plastic is not the real problem — littering is. Even that plastic bags are necessary to pick up dog poop.

Is this really an ordinance that does good? opponents asked. Or does it just feel good?

I have no hard evidence, but it seems many Westporters regularly tote cloth bags into supermarkets. Certainly, lots of local businesses and non-profits make them available, as part of their marketing and branding efforts.

But the bottom line is this: Despite all the naysayers, we adapted quickly. These days, getting plastic bags at stores outside Westport is almost as surprising as seeing smokers.

Soon, nearly 4 million Angelenos will realize what 25,000 Westporters have known for years: Like it or loath it, the plastic bag ban works.