Pasadena to begin charging for plastic bags

The city of Pasadena is making progress in the world of eco-friendly consumerism with a ban that will require grocers, convenience stores and other vendors to stop offering plastic bags and instead charge 10 cents for every paper bag.

There will be no charge to customers who bring their own reusable bags or for those who pay with food stamps or Women, Infant and Children stamps.

The ban is still in its early stages, as officials unanimously approved a movement to draft an ordinance within the next 60 days. After the submission of the ordinance, the City Council will vote on the ban. The proposed change comes on the heels of Los Angeles County’s plastic bag ban, which was passed in November of 2010.

Members of the city council are optimistic as to how the ban will be accepted by citizens. Public opinion favors the eco-friendly movement, and many consumers already bring their own reusable bags to grocery stores. Clothing stores, restaurants and other establishments may be included in the ban in the future.

“We did not include clothing stores and restaurants because the largest distribution happens at food and grocery stores,” said Pasadena sustainability affairs manager Ursula Schmidt in the Los Angeles Times.

Several types of establishments — such as restaurants and stores that sell raw meat — will still be allowed to use plastic bags due to fear of contamination. For other stores, however, violations will incur a warning, and further transgressions will result in fines.