retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Los Angeles Times reports that Los Angeles "on Tuesday became the newest and by far the largest city to back a ban on plastic grocery bags, approving an ordinance that applies not just to food stores and mini marts but also big retail chains with their own line of groceries, such as Target and Wal-Mart.

"The ordinance, which has been in the works for years, would go into effect gradually, reaching large stores Jan. 1 and smaller ones July 1, 2014. Customers will either have to bring their own reusable bags or pay a 10-cent fee for each paper one requested, according to the ordinance."

The vote comes after state legislators failed to approve a similar ban, though Los Angeles vote is seen as possibly reigniting interest on a state-wide level since by the end of next year, close to a third of California's population will be covered by new plastic and paper bag regulations.

Bloomberg has a story that while the plastic bag industry is fighting the bans - albeit unsuccessfully in places like Los Angeles - trend lines suggest that "plastic shopping bags, a staple of the American retail experience for a half-century, may be going the way of lead paint and other banned products."
KC's View:
I know that there are plenty of arguments that removing plastic shopping bags from the eco system will have a negligible impact, but I cannot help believing that when people bring their own bags - and yes, wash them when necessary to prevent the spread of disease - it probably is good for the environment in the long run. It just seems responsible to me ... not always easy for folks to adapt to, but probably positive in the long run.

(Last weekend, I was in NYC, and saw many of the new metropolitan bike rental stations that have been set up around Manhattan. I get that some folks think they are a nuisance, that they take up valuable parking spaces ... but I also can't help but think that people pedaling around NYC on bikes rather than taking cabs or subways probably is a good thing in the long run. There would appear to be agreement on this issue in some quarter - I saw a ton of people riding the bikes, and many of the racks were empty because the bikes were being used. Change can be hard, but often necessary.)

I'd rather these changes take place because of market forces, as opposed to being legislated. But it is hard for me to get upset about them.

So in LA, maybe there will be fewer plastic bags in landfills and in waterways ... the sun will be shining all the time ... it'll be another perfect day ... I love LA!