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LA City Council Approves Plastic Bag Ban

LOS ANGELES ( — The Los Angeles City Council Tuesday voted 11-1 to ban single-use plastic bags.

Under the ban, stores that sell perishable foods will be prohibited from handing out plastic grocery bags.

"We've seen plastic bags clogging our gutters, polluting our rivers and piling up on our beaches," Councilmember José Huizar said in a statement. "The time for the City of Los Angeles to take action to protect our environment is now. And every big city in the nation can follow our lead."

Nearly two billion single-use plastic bags and 400 million paper bags are distributed annually in Los Angeles, according Health the Bay, a non-profit environmental organization.

If the ban is violated, stores will be fined an unspecified amount.

The law also calls for a 10-cent charge per paper bag.

"By 2014, more than one-third of Californians — 13 million people — will live in communities that no longer have to deal with the scourge and cost of single use plastic grocery bags," Mark Murray, Executive Director of Californians Against Waste, said in a statement.

The ban would take effect Jan. 1, 2014, for large stores that make more than $2 million a year. It will go into effect in July 2014 for smaller stores that carry limited groceries.

Los Angeles is the largest city in the country to adopt an ordinance to phase out plastic bags.

Similar bans are already in effect for West Hollywood, Laguna Beach, Santa Monica, Long Beach, Manhattan Beach and several cities in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County.

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