Plastic bag ban in effect for unincorporated Los Angeles County
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed an extensive plastic bag ordinance last November, which went into effect July 1, 2011 for large stores in unincorporated LA County (i.e. gross annual sales of at least $2M or with 10,000 sq. feet.) On January 2, 1012, the ordinance will extend to all other stores in unincorporated LA County, including drug stores, pharmacies, and convenience stores. (Click here for FAQs about Los Angeles County's ban.) So far, the main problem that's surfaced regarding LA County's ban is similar to a problem that arose in San Francisco - companies trying to trying to squeeze their thicker plastic bags within the definition of "reusable" bag. However, at least according to this Roplast press release, customers will be given the option to purchase these "special bags" for 10-25 cents rather than be given them for free. This is a major hurdle, because biggest problem with these bags in San Francisco was that they are made to be given away for free, and therefore have very little likelihood of changing consumer behavior.
Roplast claims that these bags can be used at least 125 times and be washed easily, but that claim seems incredibly suspicious given the quality of these bags - they are basically just slightly thicker plastic bags. Roplast's bags are arguably slightly better than the average plastic bag because they have relatively high Post Consumer Recycled Plastic or (PCR) content and are thicker so that they don't blow around in the wind. These bags are a step in the right direction - but they do not meet the spirit of the anti-plastic bag movement.