Are You Ready for the Plastic-Bag Ban?

Santa Monica starts enforcing the ban on Sept. 1.

While Santa Monica's has been in effect since March 3, a month from Monday, it will begin to be enforced. The ban applies to grocery stores, convenience stores, mini-marts, liquor stores and pharmacies.

Starting Sept. 1, businesses that continue distributing plastic bags to consumers at point of purchase will face a potential $250 fine if they are charged with an infraction, or a $1,000 or up to six months in jail if they are charged with a misdemeanor.

There are some exceptions. Restaurants will still be able to provide plastic bags for certain types of take-home food, for example, due to health concerns. Also, you'll still be able to use plastic bags in the produce sections of grocery stores.

Nonetheless, Santa Monica is facing a big transition on Sept. 1—also because, on that same day, businesses will be forced to charge at least 10 cents per paper bag, should consumers opt for them at point of purchase.

The goal of the plastic-bag ban and paper-bag fee is to persuade Santa Monica residents to rely on reusable bags instead. Some other cities that have instituted similar prohibitions and/or fees—San Francisco, Washington, D.C.—have seen major declines in the usage of single-use bags. As of July 14, 39 cities and counties in the U.S., including 12 in California, have banned plastic bags.

With Sept. 1 only 33 days away, how are you preparing for the enforcement of Santa Monica's plastic-bag ban? Are you buying reusable bags? Do you have enough already? Are you loading up on plastic bags while they're still available? Are you taking home more paper bags before businesses start charging for them?

Please share your thoughts in the comments box below, so your Santa Monica neighbors can hear how you're gearing up for the transition.

Also, go here to check out my Monday interview on KPFK's Deadline L.A. about Santa Monica's plastic-bag ban.

Correction: "a week from Monday" has been changed to "a month from Monday."

jessica July 31, 2011 at 04:45 PM
nice idea but inconvenient. wish we could find a way to recycle plastic bags well. next they'll ban all plastic products. think of that! summary: it's a good thing, but i'm not ready. i also wasn't ready for the considerable rent hike -- 3% during a recession?! we're struggling here!
RDJ August 01, 2011 at 04:13 AM
I wish it was that easy to ban illegal immigrants! Say charge $1000.00 to each one of them if caught in this country illegally. This would be a benefit to all and help us through this recession.
Claudia Schafer August 25, 2011 at 01:16 AM
Not really inconvenient once you get used to it, but I've been doing it for about 25 years already. However - I am totally on board with you on the rent hike. And to make it even worse, it's 3% PLUS a percentage of property taxes, props that were voted in etc. Our rents even include a tax for living near the Ocean, making the total increase closer to 6%. You bet it's a struggle!
oboogie September 05, 2011 at 06:17 PM
this bag ban is yet another case of over-governmenting. ten cents for a paper bag? how about a penny? where does that 900% profit go and who does it benefit? you'd think our city govenment officials would have more important issues to address. as for the rent increase, it was a bad and hurtful decision! we should be getting a rent credit in these hard economic times. it's sad that we are forced to continue paying more and getting less. who decided the renters should be paying for the rent control registration fee, college bond, school bond, stormwater management fee, clean beaches and ocean parcel tax, etc? i suggest the owners pay these fees! how do we change this? for me, it's an additional 1% increase added on to the 3.2%. ouch!!!
Claudia Schafer September 05, 2011 at 07:13 PM
re: rent increases - in all fairness (and I am a tenant - not a landlord) the costs of water, power, maintenance services etc have all increased enormously in the past couple of years, making some level of shared expense not unreasonable. However, it is in no way fair or appropriate for renters to be contributing so much as a dime to any tax or fee related to the ownership of property. Especially when the decrease in property values has resulted in lower property tax for anyone who takes the time to apply for it. Additionally, those are all tax deductible expenses for the owners, and I sure hope they are all being audited to make sure they don't double dip by in including amounts that are being handed over to us tenants for payment. A suggestion for all us renters might be to get the voting record of city council members who approved that bit of foul play - and vote their landlord loving butts out of office in 2012!


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