Just a few months before a plastic bag ban goes into effect in Los Angeles County’s unincorporated areas, the Long Beach, Calif., City Council unanimously passed an ordinance Tuesday evening to ban single-use plastic shopping bags at its major retailers.
Modeled after Los Angeles County’s ordinance, the law prohibits retailers from distributing both conventional and compostable plastic bags and requires retailers to charge 10 cents for each paper shopping bag they hand out. The paper bags must contain at least 40 percent post-consumer recycled material and be recyclable through the city’s recycling program.
The ban goes into effect on Aug. 1 for large grocery stores and pharmacies more than 10,000 square feet or with gross annual sales of $2 million. By Jan. 1, 2012, the ban will apply to smaller grocery stores and pharmacies, drug stores, convenience stores and farmers markets.
Reusable bags sold by the affected stores must be designed for a minimum of 125 uses and be free of lead, cadmium and other heavy metals.
The coastal city estimates that it spends approximately $2.2 million annually in cleanup costs of marine litter such as plastic bags.