The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has approved a ban on the distribution of single-use plastic shopping bags at grocery stores, convenience stores and pharmacies in unincorporated areas of the county, including Marina del Rey.

Los Angeles County becomes the largest municipality in the nation to ban plastic bags with the board’s vote, which is expected to soon trigger similar actions by other local governments throughout the state, including the cities of Los Angeles and Santa Monica.

“With this vote, Los Angeles County becomes a national leader in the movement to promote the use of reusable bags,” Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said. “Single-use plastic bags take a significant toll on our environment and infrastructure. The vast majority of plastic bags ultimately end up clogging our storm drains, threatening our local waters and wildlife, and become blight within our communities.”

The Santa Monica-based environmental group Heal the Bay, which has been one of the more active organizations in the legislative fight to enact a bag ban, hailed the county’s approval.

“The supervisors’ leadership today will spur other local communities to take meaningful action to break our addiction to single-use shopping bags,” Heal the Bay President Mark Gold said. “The plastics industry knows the writing is on the wall.”

A main opponent of the ban, the American Chemistry Council, has claimed that it will result in the elimination of bag manufacturing jobs and dismantle a growing plastic bag recycling infrastructure.

“It’s extremely disappointing that the Board of Supervisors would take this approach, which threatens to derail existing recycling programs and fleeces consumers,” said Tim Shestek, senior director of State Affairs for the American Chemistry Council.

Retailers will still be able to distribute paper bags, so long as they contain at least 40 percent post-consumer content. Shoppers who forget their reusable bags have the option of purchasing paper bags at checkout for 10 cents each.

The ban will be enacted officially beginning next July.

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