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The California Grocers Association (CGA) said yesterday that it has urged the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to table a proposed study into how to reduce plastic bag usage until a statewide recycling program can be evaluated.

That statewide program is scheduled to begin in July.

The move by the LA County officials – which at this point is just a proposal – follows the approval by the San Francisco City Council of an ordinance in San Francisco mandating that large chains use only compostable plastic and recyclable bags; this ordinance is expected to be signed by Mayor Gavin Newsom.

“Given that the San Francisco program has not been implemented, and that California’s statewide plastic bag recycling law (AB 2449) focused solely on plastic bags doesn’t begin until July 1, we believe it premature to move forward with any type of study,” said CGA President Peter Larkin.

The CGA unsuccessfully opposed the San Francisco ordinance.
KC's View:
The reality, it seems to us, is that the way plastic bags have traditionally been used is simply going to stop. Maybe not next week, maybe not in July, maybe not next year. But we simply cannot continue to do business as usual and expect not to suffer environmental consequences as a result.

(It is at this point that we normally would use the phrase “fragile planet,” but we won’t – mostly out of respect for the many people for whom the use of that phrase seems to correspond with a dangerous rise in blood pressure.)

One note. In Japan, there are reports that Aeon, that nation’s largest supermarket chain, has decided to start charging for every plastic grocery bag, a policy that will be phased in between now and 2010. That’s one way to effect change. There are plenty of others.

But change, inevitably, is coming.