Over the past two years, several municipalities across the United States have banned or taxed plastic shopping bags in an effort to both reduce landfill costs and reduce the amount of plastic in the environment. Los Angeles, the nation’s second largest city, has now joined them.
The City Council voted 13 to 1 to phase out plastic bags over the next 16 months at an estimated 7,500 stores, meaning shoppers will need to bring reusable bags or purchase paper bags for 10 cents each.
The ban came after years of campaigning by clean-water advocates who said it would reduce the amount of trash in landfills, as well as the region’s waterways and the ocean. They estimate that Californians use 12 billion plastic bags a year and that less than 5% of the state’s plastic bags are recycled.
As more cities adopt restrictions on plastic shopping bags, it is worth wondering when Chicago will follow suit. The city is currently overhauling its recycling and garbage services, and such a policy would bring it into line with the policies of similar cities. Waste reduction policies and practices are explored in Roosevelt’s SUST 240 Waste seminar, offered this fall downtown and online. For more information on the seminar or any other of our courses, visit our Sustainability Studies website, call 1-877-277-5978 (1-877-APPLY RU) or email applyRU@roosevelt.edu.