Starting next month, the phrase “Paper or Plastic?” will become obsolete in the City of Santa Monica. Spurred by the likes of Heal the Bay and other environmental activist groups, the local City Council voted unanimously in January to ban the plastic bag in all parts of the city, beginning enforcement in September. Although often considered one of the more sustainable cities in the greater Los Angeles region, Santa Monica is not necessarily a first mover in California when it comes to the ban. The city will be joining the likes of San Francisco, San Jose, and the unincorporated ares of Los Angeles County which are all taking efforts to put an end to the amount of waste and harm caused by the unnecessary use of plastic bags.
What does this mean for the average shopper? Plastic bags will no longer be available at grocers, clothing stores, or other retailers. Paper bags will still be available at the cost of 10 cents per bag, as they are easier to recycle and less harmful to the environment. Shoppers will be advised to use reusable bags made of cloth or other washable materials instead, to avoid the ‘tax’ on paper bags in a greater effort to reduce waste all together. Small plastic bags such as those for produce will still be available for health reasons, as will be plastic bags for take out food. With Santa Monica and some parts of LA County already joining the crusade on the plastic bag, Heal The Bay hopes to convince the city of Los Angeles to join the fight next.