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LA's Move to Ban Plastic Grocery Bags Could mark Beginning of End for a Ubiquitous Container

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As the years went by and plastic won, people began to find myriad other makeshift uses for the little bags with the briefcase-like handles. You could line small trash cans with them, use one to scoop up dog doo and another to carry wet towels home from the beach. You could even use them to take pictures in the rain and not destroy your camera.

The discarded bags, though, had a nasty habit of washing up on beaches by the thousands, clogging storm drains and getting tangled in all sorts of stuff. That raised the ire of environmentalists, who have been on a ban-the-bag quest for years.

Now, with the city of Los Angeles taking the first step toward joining nearly four dozen other California municipalities in outlawing them, the humble little polyethylene bag may be headed for the trash heap of history.

San Francisco already bans the bag. So do San Jose, Long Beach, Berkeley and Malibu.

But LA, with nearly 4 million residents, goes through an estimated 2.7 billion plastic grocery bags a year, according to city officials, and environmentalists believe a ban here will have a huge impact and could even influence the rest of the country to follow suit.
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