Los Angeles City Council passed an ordinance that prohibits stores from using single use plastic bags. A Los Angeles County similar ordinance has been in effect for a few years and was based on extensive study about the effect the bags had on the environment and the economy. Calabasas bans the use of plastic bags. Why does the City of Agoura Hills still allow the use of plastic bags, or styrofoam for that matter?
Single use plastic bags present both an economic and an environmental burden on society. Litter cleanup of unincorporated areas costs County taxpayers over $20 million annually, of which plastic bags are a significant amount of the litter stream. If not collected, plastic litter often finds its way to the ocean where it can drift for years, or be mistakenly eaten by animals where the plastic will remain in the animal’s digestive tract for the rest of its life. At recycling facilities, plastic bags clog machinery which slows the recovery of other recyclables. Studies have also shown that a charge of 10¢ per paper bag would discourage customers from simply switching from one single use bag (plastic bags) to another (paper bags). Customers may bring their own reusable bags every time they shop to avoid paying 10¢ for a paper bag. In addition, these single use plastic and paper carryout bags were never “free”, but instead the costs were built into the price of commodities.
Isn't it time for Agoura Hills, Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, etc. etc. to follow the lead set by Calabasas? In fact, the charge for a paper bag should really be $1. Then maybe shoppers will remember to bring their reusable canvas bags.