Reyes said the ban will minimize cleanup costs for the city and reduce trash that collects in storm drains and the Los Angeles River. The city estimates more than 2 billion plastic bags are used each year in Los Angeles. About 5 percent of plastic bags and 21 percent of paper bags are recycled in California.The Save the Bag guys obviously want to sell more bags, but I don't think they have a leg to stand on.
Banning plastic bags will not solve the litter problem, said an attorney who opposes the regulation of plastic bags.
"We've had enough of politicians accepting the misinformation that's spread around the Internet about plastic bags," said Stephen Joseph of the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition, which represents bag manufacturers.
Can "the market" fix the problems of plastic bags floating everywhere? Clogging things? Killing animals and sealife? No, because there is no profit in reducing such activities.
Can individual stores be relied upon to charge customers more ("internalizing the externality")? No, because they will lose (some) customers to other markets.*
The LA-wide ban will leave the stores on a "level" playing field while reducing litter sources.
In many countries, people have to pay for bags. They do not consider them a human right, and they manage (quite well) to deal with the drama and effort of bringing empty bags to a store to fill up.
Bottom Line: I favor this regulation as a means of reducing pollution while moving people to a new paradigm of being careful with bags.
* Seriously -- I heard this from a clerk at the Davis Food Co-op, and they have pretty loyal customers!