as part of ‘A Day Without a Bag’

A coalition of major retailers, local governments and regional environmental groups has organized the fourth annual “A Day Without a Bag” Thursday, Dec. 16, which urges consumers to forego single-use plastic or paper grocery bags in favor of reusable totes.

Approximately 25,000 reusable bags will be given away to shoppers at nearly 200 locations throughout Los Angeles County as part of the event, according to the Santa Monica-based environmental group Heal the Bay. The initiative, launched by Heal the Bay, is sponsored by the city and county of Los Angeles.

Dozens of community groups will be conducting bag giveaways and grassroots education for consumers throughout the region.

“This year we have more than tripled the number of bag giveaway sites,” said Mark Gold, president of Heal the Bay. “It reflects the growing groundswell in Los Angeles for reusable bags, which not only save the environment but taxpayer dollars as well, especially in a time of drastic budget shortfalls.”

This year’s effort comes after the county Board of Supervisors voted last month to ban plastic bags in unincorporated areas of the county, including Marina del Rey. Dozens of other municipalities in the state, including Santa Monica, are actively pursuing similar measures.

Led by “Green Santa” and his band of elves, volunteers will distribute free reusable bags to patrons at high-profile shopping areas throughout the region. Sponsors EarthWise Bag Co. and Albertsons will lead a diverse mix of businesses scheduled to support the Dec. 16 event through in-store promotions or giveaways at locations countywide.

Other participating businesses include Ralphs, 99¢ Only Stores, Vons, Subaru, Union Bank and Fred Segal Santa Monica. Free bags will also be distributed while supplies last at all public libraries operated by the county of Los Angeles.

For a map of all giveaway sites, www.healthebay.org/nobagday.

As a parallel to the giveaway program, Heal the Bay hosted the inaugural “Day Without a Bag Summit” Dec. 15 for municipalities interested in enacting legislation and creating public programs that will reduce single-use bag consumption.

Last year, more than 70 of the county’s 88 cities officially endorsed “A Day Without a Bag,” according to Heal the Bay.

Gail Farber, Los Angeles County Public Works director, said Los Angeles County became the country’s largest municipality to enact a single-use plastic bag ban.

“Los Angeles County has long been at the forefront of environmental protection, and yet more than six billion single use plastic bags are used each year in L.A. County alone,” Farber said.

“The ban will ensure that our mission to preserve natural resources, reduce litter and protect our beaches and waterways for our 10 million residents will continue to be met.”

Following the recent adoption of the new ordinance, the county public works department created a Web site, www.aboutthebag.com, to educate residents about the ban.

Community groups throughout the state have launched their own “A Day Without a Bag” campaigns, with similar outreach programs planned in San Diego, Orange County, Ventura and San Francisco counties, a Heal the Bay spokesperson said.

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