Photo by Flickr user londonista_londonist/ Creative Commons
Photo by Flickr user  londonista_londonist/ Creative Commons
Photo by Flickr user londonista_londonist/ Creative Commons

Community members are gearing up for the changes to come after the Los Angeles City Council passed a ban on plastic grocery bags last Tuesday.

The ban will not only end plastic bag usage at grocery stores, but at small businesses and large retail stores like Target.

Customers can either use their own reusable bags or totes to carry purchased merchandise, or pay a 10-cent fee for each paper bag requested.

Boyle Heights shopper Margarita Ruiz, 47, said she liked the idea of having her city be more environmentally friendly.

“I don’t mind bringing my own bags to the grocery store if it means less damage to our environment. We don’t even use those plastic bags for long. Just from the store to the home,” said Ruiz.

“Some people recycle but I always see [plastic bags] in the streets,” said Rolando Lira, 26, “My only concern is paying for paper bags.”

Paying extra for bags is a concern for many Boyle Heights residents, but for those who get around on foot and use public transportation, it’s also an inconvenience.

“I don’t own a car and I go shopping for my whole family,” said Boyle Heights resident Margarita Virula. “Charging for paper bags is only going to cost us more.”

The new ordinance, which aims to anticipate less plastic bag disposal in its landfills, will take effect on Jan. 1, 2014 for most large grocery and retail stores, and on July 1, 2014 for smaller stores.

Los Angeles is the newest and largest city in the nation to support this kind of ordinance.

Los Angeles is home to nearly 4 million residents who use approximately 2 billion single-use plastic bags a year according to city officials. Heal The Bay, a non-profit environmental organization, says only less than five percent get recycled.

Lourdes Espinoza

Lourdes Espinoza is a student Broadcast Journalism at Cal State University, Los Angeles. She works as a community associate for Boyle Heights Beat. Seeking and sharing local events has allowed her to sharpen...

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