A Survey on the Economic Effects of Los Angeles County’s Plastic Bag Ban

Studies | Environment

No. 340
Thursday, August 16, 2012
by Pamela Villarreal and Baruch Feigenbaum


Endnotes

1. The authors wish to acknowledge the following individuals for their contributions to this report: H. Sterling Burnett, Wesley Dwyer, David Taylor, Alex Emhke, Brian Bodine, Carolyn Needham and Alexis Hunter.

2. Ordinances to Ban Plastic Carryout Bags in Los Angeles County, Sapphos Environmental, Inc. Available at http://dpw.lacounty.gov/epd/aboutthebag/pdf/FinalEIR.pdf, pages 1-13.

3. Office of Unincorporated Area Service, L.A. County Chief Executive Office. Available online at http://ceo.lacounty.gov/OUAS/. Access verified July 17, 2012.

4. The drop in employment in stores affected by the Los Angeles County ban is consistent with a study that found an excise tax per plastic bag in Washington, D.C., reduced consumers’ spendable income and caused job losses. See “The Impact of Bill 18-150 on the Economy of Washington, D.C.,” Beacon Hill Institute, January 7, 2011. Available at http://www.atr.org/files/files/DCBagTaxStudy.pdf. Access verified July 2, 2012.

5. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Local Area Unemployment Map: California.”  Available at http://data.bls.gov/map/MapToolServlet.

6. American Progressive Bag Alliance, “Save American Jobs — U.S. Map.” Available at http://www.plasticsindustry.org/APBA/Save/contentNR.cfm?ItemNumber=8844&navItemNumber=8763.

7. U.S. International Trade Commission, “General First Unit of Quantity by HTS Number and by General First Unit of Quantity Annual” for HTS 4202923031.

8. “Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling, and Disposal in the United States: Facts and Figures for 2005,” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Available online at http://www.epa.gov/osw/nonhaz/municipal/pubs/msw-2005.pdf. Access verified July 12, 2012.

9. “Energy Recovery from Waste,” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Available online at http://www.epa.gov/osw/nonhaz/municipal/wte/index.htm. Access verified July 10, 2012.

10. Converted by the authors from joules, a measure of work or energy expended.

11. The compostable plastic bags are made of polylactide resin and a blend of Ecoflex.

12. Karli Verghese et al., “Environmental impacts of shopping bags,” Sustainable Packaging Alliance Limited, April 30, 2009. Available at http://mams.rmit.edu.au/r97dgq3iero9.pdf.

13. The functional unit is defined as the number of shopping bags needed to carry 70 grocery items home each week for 1 year. This is the equivalent of 520 bags for paper, single-use plastic, and compostable plastic. This is the equivalent of 4.1 cloth bags per year, based on 104 trips per 2 years.

14. Karli Verghese et al., “Environmental impacts of shopping bags.”

15. Robert Lilienfeld, “Review of Life Cycle Data Relating to Disposable, Compostable, Biodegradable, and Reusable Grocery Bags,” Use Less Stuff, March 28, 2008. Available at http://use-less-stuff.com/Paper-and-Plastic-Grocery-Bag-LCA-Summary-3-28-08.pdf. Access verified July 3, 2012.

16. James D. Agresti, “Bans on Plastic Bags Harm the Environment,” Reason Foundation, June 15, 2012. Available at http://reason.org/blog/show/bans-on-plastic-bags-harm-the-envir. Access verified July 2, 2012.

17. Jay Beeber, “Plastic Bag Ban Will Put Los Angeles In Landfill,” Reason Foundation, May 23, 2012. Available at http://reason.com/archives/2012/05/23/plastic-bag-ban-will-put-los-angeles-in. Access verified July 2, 2012.

18. Angela Logomasini, “Plastic Bag Bans Are Bad for the Environment,” Competitive Enterprise Institute, November 8, 2011. Available at http://cei.org/sites/default/files/Angela percent20Logomasini percent20- percent20Plastic percent20Bag percent20Bans percent20are percent20Bad percent20for percent20the percent20Environment percent20- percent20WebMemo.pdf. Access verified July 2, 2012.

19. Ibid.

20. P. Wesley Schultz and Steven R. Stein, “Litter in America: National Findings and Recommendations,” Keep American Beautiful, 2009. Available at http://www.kab.org/site/DocServer/Executive_Summary_-_FINAL.pdf?docID=4601. Access verified July 2, 2012.

21. P. Wesley Schultz and Steven R. Stein, “Litter in America: 2009 National Litter Research Findings and Recommendations,”  Keep America Beautiful. Available online at http://www.kab.org/site/PageServer?pagename=LitterResearch2009. Access verified July 10, 2012.

22. Jay Beeber, “Plastic Bag Ban Will Put Los Angeles In Landfill,” Reason Foundation, May 23, 2012. Available at http://reason.com/archives/2012/05/23/plastic-bag-ban-will-put-los-angeles-in. Access verified July 2, 2012.

23. “2010 National Postconsumer Plastic Bag & Film Recycling Report,” Moore Recycling Associates, January 2012. Available at http://www.plasticbagrecycling.org/08.0/2010FilmReport.pdf. Access verified July 3, 2012.

24. “Wastes – Resource Conservation – Common Wastes & Materials,” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Available at http://www.epa.gov/osw/conserve/materials/plastics.htm#recycle. Access verified July 12, 2012.

25. Charles P. Gerba, David Williams and Ryan G. Sinclair, “Assessment of the Potential for Cross Contamination of Food Products by Reusable Shopping Bags,” University of Arizona and Loma Linda University, June 9, 2010. Available at http://uanews.org/pdfs/GerbaWilliamsSinclair_BagContamination.pdf. Access verified July 2, 2012.

26. Ibid.


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