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L.A. Plastic Bag Ban Unravels

lapb2.jpgLos Angeles County supervisors retreated from a threat to ban plastic bags and instead opted for a volunteer program that leaves it to supermarket and store owners to coax customers into packing their purchases in reusable containers, reports the LA Times.

A year ago, supervisors had ordered county lawyers to look into drafting a ban on non-recyclable bags altogether, following San Francisco’s lead. But the 90-day study that supervisors promised in April 2007 stretched into nine months, as grocers and retailers weighed in. By July, the California Grocers Assn., which represents 500 retailers in California and Nevada, had hired the lobbying firm of Rose & Kindel and, by December, had paid it more than $33,000, according to the Times.

With county executives prepared to seek only voluntary measure, a last-minute amendment was offered, lowering the bar for grocers and retailers even further. The final product approved by supervisors: A ban would be adopted only if the use of bags in unincorporated Los Angeles County did not decrease at least 30 percent by July 2010 and at least 65 percent by July 2013.

Earlier this month, The New York City Council passed a bill by the margin of 44-2 that requires large stores and retail chains to collect and recycle plastic bags.

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