Gifts Offered for Shoppers Who Forgo Plastic Bags

Shoppers will have a chance to win $100 gift card if they bring their own reusable bag.

Local grocery stores will offer extra incentives on Dec. 20 for Los Angeles shoppers who bring their own reusable bags.

The sixth annual "Day Without a Bag" is sponsored by Heal the Bay, a local nonprofit, and will likely be the last event as the city ordinance banning plastic bags is set to take effect May 23, 2013. Select grocery stores will distribute free reusable bags on Dec. 20 and offer additional discounts for customers who use their own. 

Heal the Bay is offering a $100 Vons gift card, t-shirts and other prizes. Albertsons will distribute free reusable bags across all its L.A. city stores from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Ralph’s will offer triple its reusable bag rebate.

"We’re hoping that this holiday season will be the last time Angelenos will see plastic bags as they do their gift shopping," said Meredith McCarthy, Heal the Bay’s programs director, in a statement. "We want shoppers to get in the habit of using the reusable bags stashed in their closets and car trunks all year round. Bringing your own reusable bag is one of the easiest ways to have a positive impact on your own neighborhood and improve the health of our oceans." 

Los Angeles will join dozens of other California cities that have already adopted plastic bag bans, including Malibu, Manhattan Beach, Santa Monica and West Hollywood.  

L.A., along with many other cities, moved forward with a plastic bag ban ordinance after a California Supreme Court in July 2011 ruled that cities should not have to conduct an environmental impact report before imposing a bag ban.

The decision nullified lawsuits filed by Save the Plastic Bag Coalition, an organization comprised of plastic industry executives that claimed small cities must conduct a costly and time-consuming EIR.

It argued that paper bags are actually better for the environment than plastic. For example, paper bags release CO2 and methane when they degrade, but plastic bags don’t, it says.

Other opponents have also vowed to sue California cities on the basis that the common 10-cent fee for paper bags violates Proposition 26, which requires a two-thirds supermajority vote in the California Legislature to levy certain taxes and fee. However, this may not have legal standing because the city does not collect the fee, but rather the business keeps it.

There has been a 95 percent reduction in plastic bag distribution since L.A. County banned plastic bags in July 2011 in unincorporated L.A. County, according to Heal the Bay. 

Cities and municipalities spend as much as $25 million to collect and dispose plastic bag waste, and less than 5 percent are recycled annually in Los Angeles, according to Heal the Bay. 

To enter the Heal the Bay $100 gift card contest, take a picture of yourself or anyone using their reusable bag and post it to Instagram, Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #RockinReusable and tag @HealtheBay to enter.

Bill Hamburg December 12, 2012 at 06:52 AM
The City's plastic bag ban (like all the other cities doing the same) is one of the biggest boondoggles ever imposed on its citizens. The city is also going to require grocery stores to charge 10 cents a bag for paper bags, for which they really have no authority to do. But the markets are going along with it. Eventually their plan is to also ban paper bags (which are environmentally benign). It is rediculous that we allow so-called environmentalists to run (let's say "ruin") our lives. Their hidden agenda is purely political. Part of the "lefties" plan to piece by piece dismantle our freedom and liberty. We are so stupid to let them get away with it. But, then half the country voted Obama back in.....so maybe socialism or marxism is what most people want.
Douglas Lober December 12, 2012 at 05:51 PM
I have been a long follower of "Heal the Bay" and also this special tradition with "A day without a bag." This is a great idea and Los Angeles is an excellent forum to launch it with. Maybe in the future they will join forces with other groups around the country and start a "A Day in Our Nation Without a Bag" now that would be an accomplishment! Nice work Heal the Bay! You are a huge roll model for all of us and we bag makers appreciate you 100% Thanks! Http://www.reusethisbag.com
tonyjinjin December 13, 2012 at 06:58 AM
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Jim December 14, 2012 at 09:09 AM
Lisa, you are far too gullible if you actually believe half of what you wrote. Thankfully our city council is smarter than you.
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